NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS v NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS
Date: Saturday March 7
Kick off: 2.10pm
Venue: Hunter Stadium
Broadcast: Live on Fox Sports
Last time they met:
The Knights guaranteed themselves a finals berth following their 26-12 victory over the New Zealand Warriors at St John’s Oval in their Round 23 clash.
1. Nathan Ross, 2. Jake Mamo, 3. Chanel Matautia, 4. Josh Allison, 5. Honeti Tuha, 6. Sam Keenan, 7. Danny Kerr, 8. Sam Mataora, 9. Chad Redman, 10. Paterika Vaivai, 11. Clint Newton, 12. Joseph Tapine, 13. James Taylor. Bench: 14. Theeran Pearson, 15. James De Saxe, 16. Brett Jarrett, 17. Tuiala Togitasi, 18. Michael Steele, 19. Dylan Hartin, 20. Jake Finn.
1. Viliami Kaveinga 2. Ken Maumalo 3. Matthew Allwood 4. Dominique Peyroux 5. Jarrod Tua 6. Api Pewhairangi 7. Sam Cook 8. Nathaniel Peteru 9. Zac Tippins 10. Sebastine Ikahihifo 11. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 12. Sione Lousi 13. David Bhana 14. James Bell 15. Upu Poching 16 Stedman Lefau 17. John Palavi 18. Raymond Talimalie.
Led by new coach Matt Lantry, the NSW Cup Newcastle Knights will be channelling last year’s win over the Warriors in Round 23 when the sides meet again at Hunter Stadium on Saturday.
“The Warriors certainly aren’t lacking any size and that’s what you expect with the Warriors across the board,” Lantry acknowledged.
“They will be a handful in the middle third.
"They have some decent halves and some classy outside backs, so we need to make sure we control the football.
“The biggest goal is to kick well. You can put some polish on the end of your sets with some good kicks.
“That could turn the big Warriors pack around.
“I’m sure our guys will put their body in front well and will carry the footy with intent.”
According to Lantry, livewire Nathan Ross at fullback will certainly bring plenty of energy to the team.
“He brings direction and is a bit of a senior head now. I’m looking forward to seeing how he plays,” Lantry said.
“Jake Mamo had an exciting trail period for himself and played some good footy during the trail period.
“Honeti Tuhu is on the wing and is a local guy that played a bit of NSW Cup last year and is another I look forward to see how he progresses in his second year in reserve grade.”
He describes outside back, Chanel Mata’utia as an asset and believes his consistent performances in the NSW Cup last season will continue in 2015.
Josh Allison, who has spent time in the Knights' juniors system, will make his NSW Cup debut on Saturday.
“He get’s his opportunity after some real quality trial form over the last few week,” Lantry said.
Meanwhile Sam Keenan will also play his NSW Cup maiden match alongside Danny Kerr in the halves, who has already played a number of games in reserve grade.
The Knights will combat the Warriors' size with props Sam Mataora and Pat Vaivai who will be supported by Clint Newton and Joseph Tapine in the back row.
“Clint is a player with a wealth of experience and Joe Tapine has trained hard with the NRL squad during the pre-season,” he said.
“They are back rowers who run a really good line and will draw plenty of attention that’s for sure.
“I’m also really looking forward to how James (Taylor) goes at lock, he’s spent the last three months training with the NRL and has certainly shown he has he tough enough.”
Chad Redman is named at hooker and is one of the senior heads entering his third year with the NRL squad.
“We will be looking to him for some leadership and direction out of dummy half.”
Where it will be won:
“I think it will come down to our attitude towards defence," Lantry says.
“It’s suppose to be a nice warm day, so if we can ensure we can control the speed of the play the ball, we can control the Warriors offloads and work hard for each other defensively."
"These early rounds are all about defending well. If you defend well, limit your errors, and are disciplined, you give yourself every chance that’s for sure,” Lantry said.