NYC Round 25 preview
Newcastle Knights v Parramatta Eels
Date: Saturday August 30
Venue: Hunter Stadium
Last time they met:
Inspired by a dogged defensive effort, the Newcastle Knights' NYC side charged to a hard fought 20-16 victory over the Parramatta Eels at Pirtek Stadium in Round 16.
Bryce Donovan was a standout, with the team was also served well by five-eighth Sam Keenan, back-rower Lachlan Fitzgibbon and prop Luke Yates.
1. Jake Mamo, 2. Bryce Donovan, 3. Braden Robson, 4. Chance Peni, 5. Josh Birch, 6. Jaelen Feeney, 7. Jack Cogger, 8. Jah Pakau , 9. Danny Levi (c), 10. Luke Yates, 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon, 12. Joseph Tapine, 13. Joseph Boyce. Interchange: 14. James De Saxe, 15. Pride Petterson-Robati, 16. Tuiala Togitasi, 17. James Taylor, 18. Bradie Smith.
1. Nathan Davis, 2. Leva Li, 3. Fabian Goodall, 4. John Folau, 5. Halauafu Lavaka, 6. Ryan Matterson (c), 7. Zach Dockar-Clay, 8. Tui Kamikamica, 9. Kaysa Pritchard, 10. Fred Junior Mauala, 11. Jordan Muna, 12. Tyrell Fuimaono, 13. Josh Aloiai. Interchange: 14. Joey Lussick, 15. Brandon Raeli, 16. Alex Twal, 17. Jeff Markus.
The Newcastle Knights NYC side is determined to produce its best football this weekend to earn a valuable victory over the Eels in the second last round of the competition.
NYC team manager, Craig Smith reveals the team’s concentration this week has been on the process of what it takes to get a victory.
“It’s pretty much game by game, and that’s a cliché in rugby league, that’s the way you have to look at it,” Smith said.
At this stage of the competition, intensity heightens for the top-of-the-table Knights with the first four teams on the ladder playing each other in the last month of the season.
“We played Brisbane last week and they were second on the ladder and they played semi final style football, we’d be expecting Parramatta who sit third to up the ante a little bit at this time of the year,” Smith said.
The Knights regather after a 36-16 loss to a tough Broncos side last week up at Brisbane, but have solace in the fact they hold on to their long held number one position.
“Especially with the 20s, it’s important to keep your feet on the ground,” Smith said.
“If we go looking at the bigger picture and where we might be and what we’re doing, you sort of lose focus of what you’re attempting to do.
“If we stick to our structures, which we pretty much have done all year, knowing that they’ll make us competitive and knowing that if we work hard we’ll get the win, then everything else sort of looks after itself."
Parramatta is big and strong across the park and has improved in the back half of the season to sit at third on the table.
“They will be a threat,” Smith admits.
“We need to be playing semi-final football now.
“We just need to build pressure, complete our sets and play our football.”
Smith is confident the Knights have the drive and talent to earn the two points.
“Not only do we sit number one on the table but we are also the number one attacking side in the competition meaning we can score points,” he said.
“We’ll look to move into the next couple of weeks with a bit of confidence leading into the semis."
The NYC Knights also have a good record at home winning three of the last four games at Hunter Stadium and are eager to kick off the triple-header with a win.
“We need to get through our game plan and the result should handle itself at the end of the day.
“It’s always good to start the day well and that’s what we intend to do.”
Where it will be won:
The Knights need to serve up a grinding style of football to the Eels this weekend.
“We were taught a little bit of a lesson from Brisbane on how to play that style of football and in completing sets,” Smith said.
The Knights will be strengthened by the return of Joe Tapine, who played in the NRL last week and Jake Mamo, who was rested due to a back injury.
“We will nearly be fielding our best team, so that’s a bonus,” he said.
The Knights sit at number one on the ladder, the Eels at third place.
If the NYC Knights gain a win over the Eels, they are one week away from securing the minor premiership.
This season, the Knights have 15 games, drawn two and lost five to earn 36 points, clear of the second placed Broncos by one point and the Eels by two.
Buy your match ticket for the Knights v Eels game at Hunter Stadium HERE.