Newcastle Knights v New Zealand Warriors
Saturday September 20
Kick off: 5.15 pm
Venue: Allianz Stadium
Broadcast: Fox Sports
Last time they met:
2014 season results:
Knights - 17 wins, five losses, two draws (1st)
Warriors - 12 wins, 11 losses, one draw (8th)
1. Jake Mamo, 2. Bryce Donovan, 3. Sione Mata’utia, 4. Chance Peni, 5. Braden Robson, 6. Brock Lamb, 7. Jaelen Feeney, 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.
1. Brad Abbey, 2. Ngataua Hukatai, 3. Nathaniel Roache, 4. Solomone Kata, 5. Metia Lisati, 6. Tuimoala Lolohea, 7. Mason Lino, 8. Sam Lisone, 9. Kurt Robinson, 10. Kouma Samson, 11. Marata Niukore, 12. Adam Tuimavave-Gerrard, 13. Jazz Tevaga. Interchange: 14. James Bell, 15. Toafofoa Sipley, 16. Ken Maumalo, 17. Iulio Afoa, 20. Ofahiki Ogen.
The Knights got into Saturday’s do-or-die match with the intention of making up for a disappointing result in the qualifying final against St George Illawarra last weekend.
“The disappointing thing was that we cost ourselves the game,” Team Manager Craig Smith explained.
“We were obviously beaten by a better side on the day, but we didn’t play that well either.
“It was basic fundamentals that let us down and maybe the occasion of it but we don’t get to make those excuses this week. It’s do or die.”
The task this weekend is against the young Warriors, who defeated the 5th placed Sydney Roosters last weekend to advance to the semi-final showdown against Newacstle.
“We are playing against a big side from New Zealand, that play fairly straight up and down football,” Smith said.
“They look to run through you because of their size and their big boys unload well, so no doubt we’ll have to be at our best.
“We have been there all year so it’s something that doesn’t frighten us but think we may be in a better position mentally than we were last week.
“I think the Warriors kicked a conversion from the sideline to make the top eight and they haven’t lost a game since then so they come with plenty of confidence believing that they belong in the top eight.”
Meanwhile, the team has an extra spring in their step after Sione Mata’utia won the Rugby League Players Association NYC Player of the Year award earlier this week.
“The fact that Sione was named as the RLPA NYC Player of the Year has seen the team turn up buzzing this week,” Smith added.
Where it will be won:
It will be about who can compete for the full 80 minutes in Saturday’s semi.
“We are a side that can fight for the full 80-minutes,” Smith said.
“Last weekend we were still in the game right to the end, so that’s a reflection on our guys and the effort they have given us all year.
“We expect them to be at their best and give us everything they’ve got this weekend and that’s all we can ask for.
"If you’re delivering maximum effort, you usually get the right result at the end of all that.”
“It will be a dogfight and that’s semi final football,” Smith said.