NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS v PENRITH PANTHERS
Round 14, 2015 NSW Cup
Date: Saturday June 13, 3pm
Venue: Pepper Stadium
Last time they met:
The last time the two side met was in Round 3 when the Knights managed a 18-16 win over the Panthers at Hunter Stadium.
1. Jake Mamo, 2. Honeti Tuha, 3. Pat Mata’utia, 4. Chanel Mata’utia, 5. Kerrod Holland, 6. Dylan Phythian, 7. Jaelen Feeney, 8. Sam Mataora, 9. Chad Redman, 10. Paterika Vaivai, 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon, 12. Joseph Tapine, 13. Clint Newton (c). Interchange: 14. Danny Kerr, 15. Michael Steele, 16. Marvin Filipo, 17. Jake Finn.
1. Will Smith 2. Eddie Aiono 3. Chris Smith 4. Geoff Daniela 5. Maliko Filino 6. Isaac John, 7. Adrian Davis 8. Rodney Coates, 9. Sam Scarlett, 10. Stanton Albert,11. Brendan Attwood, 12. Tupou Sopoaga 13. Leilani Latu Interchange: 14. Andy Saunders 15. Nathan Smith, 16. Wellington Albert,17. Matt Eisenhuth.
Coach Matt Lantry says the Knights are bracing themselves for the physicality the Penrith Panthers bring, but are in good health and are well prepared for the match at Pepper Stadium on Saturday.
The Panthers boast a strong lineup with young enthusiasm as well as experience.
Lantry said halfback Adrian Davis, a former Knight, is one that’s quick on his feet and hard to get a hold of.
“He’s brave enough and will put his body in front and is certainly one we’ll have to watch,” he said.
“Issac John has played a lot of first grade and is doing a job for the NSW Cup team after coming back from injury.
“Looking at eight to 13, they present some real size, so physically it’s going to be a decent game in that capacity.
“But we are as healthy as we can be at the moment.
“At this stage the guys who have been named have been getting the job done over the last couple of weeks.
Lantry praised Dylan Phythian for his contribution to the side since stepping up from the NYC U20s Knights.
“With the ball he has some really good skills and his best attribute is his running game,” he said.
“He has a nice left foot kick and outside that, we are going to continue to work with him on his defence.
While the Knights relished a win in Round 3 over the Panthers who pipped them to the post in the 2014 NSW Cup grand final, Lantry approaches the match as a fresh game.
“I go back to that game and the disappointing part was letting Penrith back in when it was 16-0 and we had to kick a penalty goal to win the game late,” he said.
“We really only really played well in that first 25 minute period, and that’s the challenge with this team.
“We are all aware we’re not putting together a solid 80 minutes at the moment.
“Even on the weekend, we gave the Mounties a sniff when the momentum went against us.
“We need to handle that momentum shift, absorb a bit more pressure and really have some resolve within our defensive line to ensure we hang on a bit better in those periods to help our offense a little bit when we do get the ball.
“The best thing last week was our execution and we worked on that a little bit again to fine-tune it.”
Where it will be won:
The middle third.
"Penrith are always tough down at Penrith. I think the physicality of the pack with them, the middle third will be vital for us,” Lantry said.
“I will need guys like Pat Vaivai, Sam Mataora and Clint Newton and the back rowers to really stand up and be counted for in that department, both defensively and how they carry the footy.
“If we can match them in the middle third, we have some try-scorers in our outside backs.
“Chanel Mata’utia and Honeti Tuhu have scored a few in the last few weeks and Kerrod Holland got a triple on the weekend and Jake Mamo can sniff out a try as well.”