Newcastle Knights v Manly Warringah Sea Eagles,
Date: Sunday, August 24
Venue: Newcastle No.2 Sportsground
Referee: Damian Briscoe
Last time they met:
The Newcastle Knights last clash with Manly was in Round 18 of the competition when the Knights earned a hardy 44-0 win over the Sea Eagles at Brookvale Oval.
The win enabled the Knights to hold onto eighth place on the table and featured doubles from Clint Newton and Honeti Tuha.
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 (c). Interchange: 15. Brenton Horwood, 16. Michael Steele, 17. Noel Underwood, 25. James Elias, 30. Toka Likiliki.
1. Clinton Gutherson, 2. Delroy Berryman, 3. Tony Satini, 4. Cheyse Blair, 5. Dominic Reardon, 6. Jack Littlejohn, 7. Zach Nicholls, 8. Tyson Andrews, 9. Jayden Hodges, 10. Epalahame Lauaki, 11. Ligi Sao, 12. Michael Chee kam, 13. Daniel Harrison. Interchange: 14. Mitchell Manson, 15. Santana Palmer, 16. Dylan Kelly, 17. Luke Haddrick, 18. James Mirceski.
Head to Head:
The NSW Cup Knights look to turn their last five consecutive wins into a sixth as the team faces Manly Sea Eagles for the second last game of the competition.
Despite the Knights’ solid form of late, the team’s mindset approaching the game is confident but cautious.
“On paper they look like a fairly competent and a strong side,” coach Rick Stone said.
A twelfth placed Manly will come into the game off a dominant 38-18 win against Newtown at home last week and are on a roll after recording victories in the last four rounds.
“You can never take anyone lightly in the competition,” Stone warned.
The Knights are sitting in 6th place on the ladder on 30 points, equal with the Illawarra Cutters (4th) and Mounties (5th).
“If we can play as well as we have the last couple of weeks then we can be competitive again,” Stone added.
The Knights win against Manly earlier this season also gives the Knights assurance they can replicate the effort to dominate again.
“We had a good win and played pretty well down in Brookvale,” Stone said about the teams’ last match up in Round 18.
“Manly had their chances that day and were at us a few times.
“Overall we controlled the game pretty well, like we have done the last few weeks.”
The NSW Cup Knights continue to benefit from fielding a consistent line-up, going into the match with just one change after Nathan Ross pulled out late last week with a virus.
“Having the same players playing in the same positions has definitely built our confidence and our consistency,” Stone added.
“I think they understand what works best for them now and in saying that, it’s probably shown the last few weeks in our score lines.
Where it will be won:
Stone believes if his team can stick to the solid football they’ve managed to produce over the past weeks, the Knights will create opportunities.
“Like most weeks, it’s about going through the processes for us and controlling the ball,” he said.
“Defending strongly in the middle is important.
“We have enough firepower and a good set of halves who control the game for us and particularly in the last couple of weeks they’ve done a good job.
“Their kicking game has controlled the ball well.
“If we can continue down that path, and hang onto the ball, and be a bit disciplined with the penalties, then we’ll have a chance again.
Stone admitted the results from the last Round probably didn’t go the Knights way, but is adamant team has the capacity to finish the season strongly.
“We’re in control of our own destiny and if we can win our last two games then it will give us a chance to finish in the top four,” he said.