NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS v BRISBANE BRONCOS
Round 11, 2015 NRL Premiership
Date: Monday May 25, 7pm
Venue: Hunter Stadium
Referee: Gavin Badger
Last time they met:
The Broncos humbled the Knights 48-6 at Suncorp Stadium in Round 24 last year, with Korbin Sims the only scorer wearing red and blue on that forgettable night.
Of the 43 times these two sides have met, the Knights have won 13 and drawn one.
1. Dane Gagai, 2. James McManus, 3. Sione Mata'utia, 4. Joey Leilua, 5. Akuila Uate, 6. Kurt Gidley (c), 7. Tyrone Roberts, 8. Kade Snowden, 9. Tyler Randell, 10. David Fa'alogo, 11. Joseph Tapine, 12. Tariq Sims, 13. Jeremy Smith. Bench: 14. Chad Redman, 15. Chris Houston, 16. Korbin Sims, 17. Jack Stockwell.
1. Jordan Kahu, 2. Daniel Vidot, 3. Jack Reed, 4. Dale Copley, 5. Lachlan Maranta, 6. Anthony Milford, 7. Ben Hunt, 8.Jarrod Wallace, 9. Andrew McCullough (c), 10. Adam Blair, 11. Alex Glenn, 12. David Stagg, 13. Joe Ofahengaue. Bench: 14. Joseph Boyce, 15. Francis Molo, 16. Corey Oates, 17. Kodi Nikorima.
The Knights finally broke their bad spell against the Tigers, and now Round 11 looms as an opportunity for consolidation.
It doesn’t get much harder than the Broncos, despite the fact that they will be missing six big players to Origin.
“It was a much better effort from the team against the Tigers, the preparation looked like that was going to be the case,” Director of Football Michael Hagan says.
“I thought the coaching staff and the senior players had a big influence on the standard of training and that’s how it panned out in the game.”
The Knights will have to improve their game again if they want to get one over the Broncos.
“This round is a good opportunity for some teams coming up against those teams without their Origin players,” Hagan explains.
“The competition is so tight that you really need to make a fist of those games if you can.”
Meanwhile, Tyrone Roberts admits he is still working hard on his form, but his kicking game in particular was vastly improved against both Manly and the Tigers.
“I thought Tyrone was one of our better players last week, his kicking game was very good and he controlled the game,” Hagan says.
“Kurt Gidley has been there before (at five-eighth) and I think he brings that energy and support to the way we play.
“He’s just got to get that understanding with Tyrone on who does what.
“Tyrone managed and controlled our kicking game 90 per-cent of the time against the Tigers and that’s probably the way they need to share that around on Monday night.”
With the spine of the team still gelling, Hagan admits that there is plenty of improvement left in the team.
“Tyler Randell’s only had two games starting at hooker and Dane Gagai’s the same at fullback,” Hagan explains.
“Kurt hasn’t played with those guys consistently so I think there were some positives there, but we also came up with some critical errors that allowed the Tigers to get back in the game.
“Having said that, I think our goal-line defence was better and we withstood a lot more pressure than we have in the last month or so.”
Where it will be won:
Between the ears.
“The mindset is the real key in this game,” Hagan says.
“People talk about who may not be there for Brisbane and that’s always a danger.
“They have a great coach in Wayne Bennett who will no doubt have a plan to upset the applecart.
“I just think that our mindset has to be really strong right from the start.”
“They are up the top of the ladder, and with Wayne (Bennett) as a coach we have to be on our game no matter who he has in the team,” Snowden told the media on Wednesday.