MOUNTIES v NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
Round 6, NSW Cup
Date: Saturday April 11
Kick off: 3pm
Venue: Aubrey Keech Reserve
Referee: Liam Nicholls Touch Judges: Mathew Damaso, John Woods
Last time they met:
The Knights and Mounties met in Round 6 of the NSW Cup 2014 season with the Knights going down 50-30 at GIO Stadium.
1. Jake Mamo, 2. Kerrod Holland, 3. Nathan Ross, 4. Pat Mata’utia, 5. Honeti Tuha, 6. Carlos Tuimavave, 7. Jaelen Feeney, 8. Sam Mataora, 9. Chad Redman, 10. Paterkia Vaivai, 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon, 12. Marvin Filipo, 13. Clint Newton (c). Interchange: 14. Danny Kerr, 15. James Taylor, 17. Tuiala Togitasi, 20. Jake Finn.
1. Jack Ahearn, 2.Bill Tupou 3 Dave Cahalane, 4. Mitch Cronin, 5. Gus Aiga, 6. Josh Mccrone 7. Mitch Cornish, 8. Kyle O’Donnell 9. Kurt Baptiste, 10. Luke Page, 11. Patrick Mago 12. Mitch Barnett, 13. Clay Priest. Interchange: 14. Sam Duggan, 15. Pat Mataele 16. Rhys Kennedy, 17. Willie Mataka, 18. Jake Goodwin, 19 Justin Lemalu.
Meeting the unbeaten Mounties at home will be no easy task on Saturday for the Newcastle Knights, but coach Matt Lantry believes the Knights are up to the challenge as they chase their third straight win.
“Their forwards lay a decent platform for their halves and they are aggressive are a big pack and are mobile with some skills,” Lantry said.
“If we don’t control the middle third, their quality halves like Mitch Cronin and Josh McCrone will be able to play off the back of it."
The Knights will again prosper from quality training sessions on Wednesday and Friday that Lantry says provides plenty of time to tidy up before the Saturday fixture.
Injuries in the Knights’ NRL squad has seen NSW Cup pillars Pat Vaivai and Joe Tapine called up to make their appearance on the big stage.
“It’s nearly a straight swap. Joe has been playing up front for us the last two weeks while Pat has been with the NRL squad,” Lantry said.
“They have swapped roles and it’s a like for like swap, so it doesn’t change too much.
The Knights will harness the energy of a satisfying win against the Illawarra Cutters in Round 5 when they come up against the competition’s front runner.
Back-to-back wins is nice, but it’s probably a challenge for us is giving a decent 80-minute performance.
“We let Illawarra back into the game with field position and possession swung heavily against us.
“If we do that against a quality side like the Mounties, then they will put us away and we won’t get the opportunity to get back into the game.
“80 minutes is the key for us this week. If you can control the ball and execute your set plays really well, you give yourself every opportunity.
“It’s been the same for us the last couple of weeks is the focus around our defensive areas.”
Where it will be won:
The middle third.
“If we can match them in the middle and can control what they throw at us then we will go a long way to giving ourselves every chance,” Lantry said.
“It’s the middle third for us and making sure don’t have the platform for their halves to play off the back of.
“Everyone has been putting their hand up at the moment and we’ve come together nicely after five weeks and going into our sixth week as a team.
“Everyone is playing their role. It’s just a challenge for us to concentrate for that 80-minute period. It’s more a mental barrier for us more than anything else.
“That means being good under fatigue and having everyone from 1-17 playing their part.”