NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS v MANLY-WARRINGAH SEA EAGLES
Round 10, 2014 Holden Cup Premiership
Monday, May 19 Kick-Off: 4.45pm
Venue: Brookvale Oval, Sydney
Last Time They Met:
Newcastle recorded a 26-14 victory over Manly at Brookvale Oval in Round 2 last season. On that particular day, current NRL players Adam Clydsdale and Joe Tapine starred in the 12-point win.
Mamo, Donovan, Mata'utia, Peni, Birch, Gagai, Feeney, Togiatasi, Levi (c), Yates, Petterson-Robati, Pondekas, Boyce. Interchange De Saxe, Smith, King, Fitzgibbon.
MANLY-WARRINGAH SEA EAGLES
Trbojevic, Saunders, Taylor, Garner, Gosling, Pearsall, Travers, Delaney (c), Stigg, Latham, Lynn, Knight, Hopoate. Interchange McMurrich, Armstrong, Mirceski, Lee.
Newcastle has displayed a lot of strong qualities this season, but Club assistant coach Rick Stone pinpoints resilience as their greatest asset.
As the only undefeated team remaining in the Holden Cup, the Knights have repeatedly shown they can perform under pressure.
Stone believes this will hold the Under-20s team in good stead for the backend of the season.
"They are playing a great brand of footy and they've got a lot of belief," Stone says.
"They’ve chased down a couple of leads, one against Brisbane a few weeks ago and obviously 12-0 down against the Panthers on the weekend.
"They’ve been having some nice composure from their senior players and they know how to fight their way out of a hole."
The Knights have also excelled away from home so far this season. From Melbourne to Townsville and Canberra, Mick Crawley's men are proven performers away from Hunter Stadium.
Stone expects this impressive run to continue against Manly at Brookvale Oval on Monday.
"They’ve taken all before them," he enthuses.
"They’ve accepted and handled most challenges that have been put in front of them so far.
"The team has got a nice array of talent that are capable of getting them out of holes when they need to.
"The belief is only growing each week and it will continue to while they keep winning."
Tuiala Togiatasi vs Jack Delany
Togiatasi returns to the NYC ranks after two successful weeks in the NSW Cup.
Stone says the former Roosters bookend was a standout in the reserve grade ranks and can't wait to see him maintain that form in the Under-20s.
"Tuiala has been impressive considering he has had to step up for a 20-year-old," Stone says.
"We’ve played a few physical sides in Wentworthville and Penrith and he has handled the test.
"I think it will serve him well for his game back in the 20s this week."
Sione Mata'utia vs Charlie Taylor
What more can you say about Sione Mata'utia?!
From his attacking flair through to his brutal defence and influence over his footy team, Mata'utia has got it all.
It's a belief certainly backed up by Stone, who has no doubts the local Newcastle junior is destined for big things.
"Sione is the real deal," he beams.
"He is a complete footy player and a really mature young man.
"He knows where he wants to go and prepares himself accordingly.
"Some of the things he did for the Knights and the under-20s game the week before were outstanding."
Jacob Gagai vs Will Pearsall
Gagai has proven he is more than capable in his first full season in the NYC ranks.
The younger sibling of NRL star Dane started the year in the halves, but has spent the past few weeks at fullback to cover for top grade debutant Jake Mamo.
With Mamo now back in the NYC, Gagai returns to the halves alongside halfback and general Jaelen Feeney.
"Jacob has got some sweet skills, but he is probably still coming to terms with the physicality of the game," he admits.
"But his instincts are good and so is his decision making, so there is still plenty of improvement."
Player to watch:
The former Melbourne Storm forward has been in barnstorming form in recent weeks.
Petterson-Robati stepped up to the starting side against Penrith last week and starred with plenty of strong charges.
Stone believes he'll again be a leading player against Manly on Monday.
"Pride is a good football player," he says.
"He has got some good footy sense about him and some good skill.
"He also has a good knowledge of the game and reads the game well.
"Him and Pondekas have really fitted in the edges really and have really contemplated the team."
Where it will be won:
Newcastle have led at half-time in seven of their nine games so far this season.
If they continue this trend against Manly, then they should charge to a comfortable victory.
In saying that, the Knights can't afford to be complacent because the Sea Eagles are always harder to beat at Brookvale.
The men in red and blue hold the aces in the form stakes though and that should be enough to get them across the line in this one.
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