NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS v NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Round 2, 2015 NYC
Date: Saturday March 14
Kick off: 5.45pm local time
Venue: 1300 Smiles Stadium
Last time they met:
The last time the Under 20 teams met was on Knights home turf in Round 15 when the Knights defeated the North Queensland Cowboys 64-16.
1. Bryce Donovan, 2. Brody Lam, 3. Ken Tofilau, 4. Braden Robson, 5. Fuaimamao Uta, 6. Brock Lamb, 7. Jack Cogger, 8. Josh King, 9. Danny Levi, 10. Daniel Saifiti, 11. Bradie Smith, 12. Jacob Saifiti, 13. Luke Yates. Interchange: 14. Jack Kelly, 15. Ben Steven, 16. Faitotoa Faitotoa, 17. Noah Easton, 18. Ben Stone.
1. Yamba Bowie, 2. Gideon Mosby, 3. Akeripa Tia Kilifi, 4. Conor Carey, 5. Scott Schulte
6. Ty Carucci, 7. Cooper Bambling, 8. Viliame Kikau, 9. Brandon Smith, 10. Braden Uele 11. Coen Hess, 12. Bill Cullen, 13. Kieran Quabba (c). Interchange: 14. Trey Kemp, 15. David Munro, 16. Andrew Niemoeller, 17. Jordan Kenworthy.
After setting up a good starting base for the season with a solid win at home against the New Zealand Warriors, coach Troy Pezet says his side has set high standards going forward.
It’s this self-imposed benchmark that’s sure to push the Knights to continue their winning ways against the challenge of facing fellow round one victors up north.
“Playing at home and having a good win was a really good start,” Pezet said.
“But I think they have set a high standard for themselves now. That’s going to be their baseline.
“They are looking to make some pretty substantial improvements in the next couple of weeks on some things that they did on Saturday."
Josh Birch has been ruled out of this weekend's match due to a sprained ankle, which will see Knights' new-recruit Ken Tofilau replace him in the centres.
“I’m looking forward to see how he goes, he has had a good off season and was rewarded with the New Zealand Rugby League provincial Player of the Year Award,” Pezet said.
"I was really happy with some of the new boys who were playing their debut in NYC.
"Both the Saifiti brothers (Daniel and Jacob) played well.
"Ben Steven, Faitotoa Faitotoa and Fuaimamao Uta, all on debut were really good and weren’t overawed.
"Having the guys that played last year and have the experience helped them settle in a little bit."
While the Knights take confidence into this weekend, they don't underestimate the challenge of playing the Cowboys at home.
“The Cowboys were really impressive on the weekend," Pezet said.
“They were neck and neck with the Roosters up until half time until they scored 36 points in the second half to win by 50.
“Up there, on Saturday night, with abig crowd and warm weather, they are going to be really tough.
“We have a pretty strong side again this week, we have a bit of confidence and are looking to improve.
“Hopefully we’ll have a big performance."
Where it will be won:
The ability to hold possession.
“We need to make sure we look after our share of the ball and not give any easy ball away,” Pezet said.
“We made three mistakes in the first half that led to the Warriors’ tries. We don’t want to be giving any of our good ball away.
"Tha will allow us to build some pressure."
"Hydration levels and nutrition are areas we’ve worked a lot on with Rachel Svenson, the Club’s dietician who has played a really big role with the boys in the off season with hydration, so that could be a point of difference going forward,” Pezet said.
“Come the weekend in warm conditions, hopefully that will hold us in good stead.”