NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS v NEWTOWN JETS
Date: Saturday March 14
Kick off: 3.00pm
Venue: Kurri Kurri Sportsground
Last time they met:
The Knights last came up against the Jets in Round 25 of the 2014 season. On that day the Knights came out narrow 26-24 winners, securing second place in the competition and slamming the door shut on Newtown’s chances of making it into the finals.
1. Nathan Ross, 2. Jake Mamo, 3. Chanel Mata’utia, 4. Josh Allison, 5. Honeti Tuha, 6. Carlos Tuimavave, 7. Danny Kerr, 8. Sam Mataora, 9. Chad Redman, 10. Paterika Vaivai, 11. Clint Newton (c), 12. Brett Jarrett. 13. Joseph Tapine. Interchange: 14. Jake Finn, 15. James Taylor, 16. James Elias, 17. Michael Steele, 18. Dylan Hartin, 21. James De Saxe, 24. Theeran Pearson, 27. Sam Keenan.
1. Nathan Gardner 2 Jacob Gagan 3 Jack Bird 4 Blake Ayshford 5 Dallas Wells 6. Nesiasi Mataitonga 7. Todd Murphy 8. Sam Tagataese 9. Pat Politoni 10. Saulala Houma 11. Junior Roqica 12. Patrice Siolo 13. Tim Robinson. Interchange: 14. Kurt Dillon 15. Kurt Kara 17. Ray Moujalli 19. Blake Judd.
The Newcastle Knights will be looking to put their Round 1 defeat behind them on Saturday afternoon at Kurri Kurri Sports Ground.
The side was well beaten by the New Zealand Warriors last weekend and coach Matt Lantry is looking for his side to bounce back.
“It’s only Round 2 of the competition and I think both team have their things to improve,” Lantry said.
“Certainly we’ll look back on last week and look at some of the handling errors we made and the errors where we really require team and individual improvement.
“I think if we can improve our set completions and get up around that 75-80 percent mark, the toll that takes on the opposition in defence will certainly help us.”
For Lantry, the side’s strongest link last week was veteran forward Clint Newton, who took on the captain’s armband for the first time.
“Clint was by far our best, he was named captain and he took that responsibility on in relation to his performance in both attack and defence,” Lantry explains.
“If we have a couple more Clint Newtons this weekend then we’ll go alright.”
Lantry will also be looking to new recruit Carlos Tuimavave for some composure and nous in attack if the New Zealander is cleared to play.
“At this stage Carlos is in the 50/50 boat… if he gets through the week unscathed he’ll come in," Lantry added.
James Elias is another addition to the squad that will give the Knights some versatility.
The Nelson Bay junior had stints at wing, centre and second-row last year and that is something that Lantry is hoping to capitalise on.
Where it will be won:
Better ball control.
“We’re all disappointed after the weekend and it’s important we don’t beat ourselves up too much, but as individuals the key responsibility is to ensure that you carry the ball well,” Lantry explains.
“Kurri is one of the better Newcastle Rugby League grounds to play at… the crowd is so close to the fence and that can certainly build an atmosphere,” Lantry says of the venue for this weekend.