NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS v NORTH SYDNEY BEARS
Round 9, 2015 NSW Cup
Date: Sunday May 10
Kick off: 2pm
Venue: Newcastle No. Sportsground
1. Jake Mamo, 2. Honeti Tuha, 3. Nathan Ross, 4. Pat Mata’utia, 5. Chanel Mata’utia, 6. Carlos Tuimavave, 7. Jaelen Feeney, 8. Sam Matoara, 9. Chad Redman, 10. Paterika Vaivai, 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon, 12. Joseph Tapine, 13. Clint Newton. Interchange: 14. Danny Kerr, 15. Ben Tupou, 16. Marvin Filipo, 19. Jake Finn, 29. Tama Koopu.
1. Setefano Taukafua, 2. John Olive, 3. Darryl Millard, 4. Ed Murphy, 5. Sam Manuleleua, 6. Cody Walker, 7. Darren Nicholls, 8. Fred Junior Mauala, 9. Matt Hyland (c) 10. Keresoma Sione, 11. Brock Gray, 12. Jack Gosiewski, 13. Jesse Roberts. Interchange: 14. Jethro Friend, 15. Evan Lee, 16. Scott Sorensen, 17. Bernard Gregorius, 19. Brad Wall.
Coach Matt Lantry says NSW Cup Newcastle Knights’ main priority this Sunday against the North Sydney Bears will be approaching the match with the appropriate attitude.
“The two-week break will freshen us up,” Lantry said.
“I think anytime you come off a bye or break, you have to make sure you’re in the right frame of mind to ensure you start the game well, which is the most important thing for us.
“Getting away to a good start will certainly help us get back into the groove of things.
“We won’t be looking for a slow start."
Much of the side’s drive is expected to come from its energetic halves.
Halfback Jaelen Feeney and five-eighth Carlos Tuimavave are back together after Tuimavave missed the last game due to a head knock incurred at training.
“He played for Samoa the week before and has come off that game full of confidence. We and hoping to stamp the authority on the game through our two halves,” he said.
Another boost will come from the return of captain Clint Newton, who missed the Round 8 match which saw the Knights defeat the Canterbury Bulldogs.
“Clint is a loss within any team, it’s just his experience and what he does for the team, both on and off the field,” he said.
“I thought the pleasing thing for us was it was a good test for our team to handle that without that senior head there amongst the group.
“The boys did really well with what they did the week before."
The NSW Cup’s backline will benefit from Chanel Mata’utia and Nathan Ross spending time in the NSW Cup representative squad camp last week.
“Chanel scored two tries up there, but unfortunately the Queensland team got the better of them,” he said.
“By all accounts both Chanel and Nathan had a really good week up there.
“Whenever you’re picked in a representative team it’s a reward for form and they can take some real confidence out that.”
Turning focus on the opposition, Lantry said the most notable happening among the team has been a recent change of head coach.
Ben Gardiner has taken up the role following the departure of Wayne Lambkin.
“The change of coach is the new thing there for the team,” he said.
“I don’t know what it is, but a team that changes their coach seems to define a few wins within the next couple of weeks and that’s what they’ve done.
The Knights will also need to contain the Bear’s standout performers.
“When you look at their halves, Cody Walker is a classy player as is Darren Nicholls. Matt Hyland was in the NSW representative team at hooker.
“Darryl Millard comes back as the centre after doing a little bit of a job with South Sydney over the last couple of weeks. He has some good NRL experience.
“They are a really strong team across the park.
“It will be a difficult afternoon for us if we don’t play to the best of our ability.
Yet Lantry assured the Knights will take much from the advantage of playing on home turf.
“It’s the first time we’re back this season at No. 2 Sportsground. It’s a good ground and we love playing there.
“We will be looking to make sure it’s a home that we enjoy and a ground others don’t like coming to.”
Where it will be won:
“I think it will come down to the way we start,” Lantry said.
“After a couple of weeks off, the last things we want to do is get away to a slow start and have to chase points or work hard to get ourselves into the game.
“If we can start with the appropriate aggression and mental attitude I think we give ourselves an opportunity to dominate midway through and hopefully get in front and stay on front.”