MANLY SEA EAGLES v NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
Round 9, 2015 NYC Holden Cup
Date: Saturday May 9
Kick off: 11am
Venue: Henson Park, Marrickville
Last time they met:
The last time the two sides met it was a close 40-38 match in Round 10 with Manly beating the Knights at Brookvale Oval.
1.Dylan Pythian, 2. Bryce Donovan, 3. Josh Birch, 4. Braden Robson, 5. Ken Tofilau, 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: Jake McNamara, 15. Faitotoa Faitotoa, 16. Roman Fepuleai, 17. Ben Stone, 18. Tyrone Amey.
1. Lucas Price, 2. Mitch Thomas, 3. Mitch Britton, 4. Jesse Ramien, 5. Charlie Buttrose, 6. Will Pearsall (C), 7. Riley Travers, 8. Liam Knight, 9. Hugh Pratt, 10. Jesse Maxwell, 11. Rhys Armstrong, 12. James Parker, 13. Darcy Cox. Interchange: 14. Nicholas Hynes, 15. Jyi Seymour, 16. Jordan Sims, 17. Addison Demetriou, 18. Matt Douglas.
With three of the NYC Newcastle Knights returning to Club from representing in the Fiji and Junior Kiwi International squads, NYC coach Troy Pezet expects the Under 20s Knights to receive collective benefits from the added confidence the trio have developed.
Twin brothers Jacob and Daniel Saifiti were involved in a proud win with Fiji while Danny Levi returned from his second representative experience with New Zealand.
“When they go away to those things they learn a lot more and spend some time with a core group of elite players, It gives them another boost of confidence,” Pezet said.
“The thing with those boys, they’ve come back with a really good attitude about sharing the things that they’ve learned.
“The Saifiti boys really enjoyed the experience and learned a fair bit dealing with NRL players and spending the week with Rick (Stone) and Fiji.
“They have really benefitted from that."
Meanwhile hooker Levi, one of the side’s leaders, is set to step up after his representative conquest.
“He really enjoyed that and has come back with a real positive and fresh frame of mind,” Pezet added.
The Knights backline will pack a strong punch with Dylan Pythian returning to fullback and consistent goal kicker Bryce Donovan moving to the wing.
“Dylan played fullback earlier in the year and earned two Players’ Player awards," Pezet explained.
“It will be his first game back from a broken jaw. He could have played three weeks ago, but coming into the bye, we though it was better to wait a little bit more to give him time to heal.
“He brings a heap of enthusiasm and steadiness at the back that we probably are looking for if we’re going to go forward and improve.”
Pezet also identifies strength in the side’s five-man bench.
“Jake McNamara, who is up from our SG Ball last year got his first game last year and did a really good job,” he said.
“Roman Fepuleai will get another he’ll get another go this week. It will be his second run in the NYC.
The coach believes the bye has come at the perfect time for his young side, who have mirrored the senior side's season to date.
“We are four wins and four losses and we needed that freshen up to get rid of a few bumps and bruises,” he explained.
“We set some goals for where we want to go in this next five-week block before the next bye.
While his side is 50 percent success rate, Pezet says his troops can’t be faulted for effort.
“We have concentrated this week on improving individually. If we can all tidy things up and the coaching staff as well it’s a collective thing,” he said.
“If we can all look for a little bit of improvement over the next five weeks, we’re going to end up with a better team.
“There have been a lot of positives of the last."
The young Knights know they Saturday's match against Manly will be a challenge.
“Manly had a good start to the year but had a pretty rocky last couple of weeks. We haven’t worried too much about what they are doing,” Pezet said.
“We really need to just concentrate on being a little bit better ourselves. Our guys are trying really hard.
“We are a really hard squad and they are working really hard and can’t ask for them to work any harder, we just need to be a bit better and continue to improve.”
Where it will be won:
Pezet expects success to flow from the side’s ability to complete sets well.
“If we can cut down our error rate then we are going to give ourselves a chance to score more points,” he said.
“When we are scoring points or putting ourselves in a position to score more points we seem to breathe a lot of confidence from that and go a little bit better.
“When things don’t go our way it regards to that it makes for a hard afternoon.”