NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS v NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS
Round 23, 2014 NSW CUP
Date: Saturday, August 16
Venue: St Johns Oval, Charlestown
Last time they met:
The last match up between the Knights and Warriors was in Round 12 when the Knights were defeated 34-12 at Mount Smart Stadium in New Zealand.
The Knights surged to an early lead, but were overtaken by the Warriors who were eager get their season back on track after having a winless first four rounds of the competition.
1. Nathan Ross, 22. Josh Mantellato, 3. Pat Mata’utia, 4. Timana Tahu, 5. Brayden Wiliame, 6. Matt Minto, 7. Michael Dobson, 8. Sam Mataora, 9. Chad Redman, 10. Pat Vaivai, 11. Clint Newton, 12. Tyler Randell, 13. Matt Hilder Interchange 15. Brenton Horwood, 6. Michael Steele, 17. Noel Underwood, 25. James Elias, 30. Toka Likiliki.
NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS
1. Steve Waetford (c) 2. Ngataua Hukatai 3. Ken Maumalo 4. Solomone Kata 5. Jarrod Tua 6. Carlos Tuimavave 7. Michael Sio 8. Sam Lousi 9. Siliva Havili 10. Charlie-Paul Gubb 11. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 12. John Palavi 13. Agnatius Paasi 14. Albert Vete 15. Upu Poching 16. Abraham Papalii 17. David Bhana coach: Rohan Smith.
Newcastle Knights NSW Cup coach Rick Stone said his team is looking for redemption after the loss to the Warriors earlier in the season in New Zealand.
The Knights now sit at number six on the table above the Warriors at seven, a win behind the red and blue.
Stone described the type of match he’s expecting on Saturday and what his team will have to contend with.
“They are big, powerful carriers of the footy, like most Warriors teams,” he said.
“They will have plenty off-loads, skill and footy in them.”
Stone believes his side has settled into consistency and has built strength since the Round 12 game.
“Defensively we’ll be a bit better than we were last time,” he assured.
“The last couple of weeks we’ve controlled the ball really well and have managed the game well against a couple of decent sides like the Sharks and the Steelers.
“That should give us some confidence.
“Our team remains relatively the same and we’re playing at home again which is an advantage.
“This will be another step for us. We had some goals to win a couple of games, so this one at home is a really important one in the context of where we may finish in the competition.
Where it will be won:
Standing up against another powerful and sizable side, coach Stone believes the Knights will need to control the game from the outset.
“We understand what’s in front of us, they are one of the really dangerous teams attacking wise,” he said.
“They have plenty of points in them so defensively we need to be ready.
“The last few weeks we’ve managed the game really well with our ball control and haven’t been tested massively defensively.
“We’re nice and positive at the moment.
“This is going to be a different kettle of fish this week and will need to get our head around defending for long periods.
“Keeping the ball away from the Warriors is just as important as the defence.
Managing the ball and the kicking game will be vital.
“Mick Dobson has been great for us in managing the game,” Stone said.
“He continues to put good pressure on the opposition with some kicks and keeps the opposition in goal which is really important.
“He’s an influential player for NSW Cup and is a good player to have in that key position.
The coach said the team’s forwards are also in good form.
“Pat Vaivai is outstanding, and not for just for the last couple of weeks but the last couple of months," he said.
“Sam Mataora has won a starting spot in the team and it’s good to see Toka Likiliki come back and find some form and some game time.
“He’s a really important cog and an explosive element.
“Things have been pretty consistent for our team, so we get to the stage where we continue to play with the same team and build confidence.”