NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS v WESTS TIGERS
Round 10, 2015 NSW Cup
Date: Sunday May 17
Kick off: 11.45am
Venue: Hunter Stadium
1. Jake Mamo, 2. Honeti Tuha, 22. Nathan Ross, 4. Pat Mata’utia, 5. Chanel Mata’utia, 6. Carlos Tuimavave, 7. Dylan Phythian, 8. Sam Mataora, 9. Chad Redman, 10. Paterkia Vaivai, 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon, 12. Clint Newton (c), 13. Ben Tupou. Interchange: 16. Marvin Filipo, 17. James Taylor, 21. Jake Finn, 23. Tyme Dow-Nikau.
1. Tim Moltzen, 2. Keith Lulia, 3. David Nofoaluma., 4. Nathan Milone, 5. Kurtis Rowe, 6. Joel Luani (capt.), 7. Josh Drinkwater, 8. Jordan Grant, 9. Manaia Cherrington 10. Jack Buchanan, 11. Lamar Liolevave, 12. Sitaleki Akauola, 13. Brenden Santi. Interchange: 14. Michael Bullock, 15. Andy Fiagatusa, 16. Salesi Funaki, 17. Wes Lolo, 18. John Sila.
After an inconsistent start, the Newcastle Knights have forged ahead to record a laudable six wins for the season.
“It took us a little but to find our groove, but they are playing some good consistent footy," coach Matt Lantry said.
"All our players in reserve grade can control is their own performance.
“That’s what they have been doing week in week out and we hope they continue that this weekend.
"We have almost the same team as last week that got the job done against the Bears.
"Hopefully we can play in better conditions because the wind at No. 2 was pretty horrific and made it difficult for both sides to execute their plays and play a free style of footy.
“I’m sure that’s the type of game the Tigers would like to play as well."
Dylan Phythian this week prepares for his debut in reserve grade after impressing in the Under 20's.
“I think Dylan will handle the physicality without a worry and has played against men for the last few years playing local grade footy,” Lantry added.
“He has a good kicking game, some skill with the ball and a decent running game.
“I can’t see too much of an issue with the transition from NYC to NSW Cup.
“The thing that will help will the quality of our outside backs as well as Chad Redman in the number nine."
While Pythian has taken on the fullback role in NYC, playing in the halves comes naturally to him.
“He did a really good job in the Under 20's last week, hence why he gets an opportunity this week," Lantry explained.
Although the Knights are riding recent good form, they’ll will be challenged by a Wests Tigers team stacked with NRL experience and class.
“I think their biggest threat is their back five,” the coach said.
“We’ll have to watch Tim Moltzen, Keith Lulia, Nathan Milone and Kurtis Rowe and they have some good halves in Joel Luani who is their captain and Josh Drinkwater who has played a bit of first grade as well.
“If we don’t control the middle third and they gain some ascendency through that period, they have some real class out wide.
“They will create a little bit of trouble for us.”
“If we can control the middle third and can be tidy on the back five I think we give ourselves a chance.”
Lantry expects the NSW Cup Knights to rise to the occasion of a triple header at Hunter Stadium in front of a passionate home crowd.
“We are always happy to play on a three-game program and be a part of that match day experience,” he said.
“It feels like you are a part of the club.
“I’m sure it’s what the fans want to see, three quality games and to see who is performing well in the lower grades."
Where it will be won:
“For us it will all be about our defence and controlling the middle third and not giving their halves too much room to play with their outside backs," Lantry said.
“If we give them time and space, they are going to be hard to defend.”
With injuries creating genuine opportunities in the Knights' first grade side, the NSW Cup Knights gain extra motivation to stand out.
“You never know what’s around the corner,” Lantry said.
“We are also approaching the rep period and could have players either selected for Queensland or NSW.”
Sunday May 17 – Round 10
Newcastle Knights v Wests Tigers
Gates open: 11.30am
NSW Cup: 11.45am
Venue: Hunter Stadium