NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS v MELBOURNE STORM
Round 22, 2014 NYC Premiership
Date: Saturday, August 9
Venue: Hunter Stadium
Last Time They Met:
The last time these two met back in Round 3, the Knights came away as convincing winners beating a full strength Storm squad 50-0.
1. Sione Mata’utia, 2. Jake Mamo, 3. Braden Robson, 4. Chance Peni, 5. Josh Birch, 6. Brock Lamb, 7. Jack Cogger, 8. Joseph Tapine, 9. Danny Levi (c), 10. Luke Yates, 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon, 12. Harry Pondekas, 13. Joseph Boyce. Interchange: 14. James De Saxe, 15. Pride Petterson-Robati, 16. Tuiala Togitasi, 17. James Taylor.
1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, 2. Tony Tumusa, 3. Maxwell Fesolai, 4. Josh Minhinnick, 5. Latrell Robinson, 6. Jake Turpin, 7. Billy Kitt, 8. Kurt Bernard, 9. Billy Brittain, 10. Vincent Rennie, 11. Una Mohi, 12. Charlie Galo, 13. Joe Stimson. Interchange: 15. Ben Halfpenny, 16. John Filipo, 17. Francis Tualau, 20. Logan Haughton.
A poor start to the game could have cost the Newcastle Knights NYC team the two-points last weekend against the Rabbitohs but a fiery chat from coach Mick Crawley sparked the boys to a second half revival.
Now the young Knights set sights on the Melbourne Storm, who have won five from their last six games.
“After coming off a descent win against South Sydney on the weekend, our squad has been strengthened by the return of a couple of key players in Jake Mamo, Sione Mata’utia and James Taylor,” NYC Manager Craig Smith reflects on last week’s performance and what to look forward to on Saturday.
“Jake and Sione have been playing really well for the NRL in the last two weeks which is a big bonus for us.
“We’re almost back to our full strength squad now, although we are still missing key players such as Jaelen Feeney, Jah Pakau, Bryce Donovan and Sam Keenan.
“We’re confident on the back of a good win, although it took us a half a game to get going, but we’re not underestimating what Melbourne has done this year and how this NYC competition rolls along.
The Knights expect the young Melbourne side to be clinical.
“This Melbourne side always come prepared to play and play pretty good football,“ Smith added.
“Most of their structure runs through the club so they’ll be strong in their defence and have a lot of number in the tackle to try and slow us down.
“It will be up to our big boys get us going forward.”
With a tough run in to the back end of the season the Knights are looking to gain confidence out of the last five rounds.
“All those five sides we face will be in finals contention so it will show these next few weeks what we can expect heading into the final series, “ Smith said.
“It will give us a lot of confidence heading into that end of the season getting a few wins against some prime teams.”
Where the game will be won:
As was the case last week, the game will be won in the middle half of the field.
“Melbourne are known for their size and this week will be no different, will be a big test for our middle to see how they go,” Smith says.
“Defence will be a key factor for both sides.”
Smith also says that it will be a big test for two young halves, Brock Lamb and Jack Cogger, who were recently selected for the Australian Schoolboys squad to travel to England in November.
“Brock who will be playing his second full game in the NYC and Jack Cogger who will be making his debut for the team,” Smith added.
“All we have to do is complete our sets like we did in the second half of the South Sydney game and hopefully a bit of luck can run off the back of that.”
“Pride Petterson-Robati will be looking at having a big game this weekend against his old club,” Smith predicts.