NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS V CRONULLA SHARKS
Round 15, 2015 NYC Holden Cup
Gates open: 11.30am
Venue: Hunter Stadium
Last time they met:
The U20s Newcastle Knights stole a 22-18 win from the Cronulla Sharks with a 77th minute try at Remondis Stadium in Round 6 of the season in rain swept match.
1. Bryce Donovan, 2. Fuaimamao Uta, 3. Josh Birch, 4. Braden Robson, 5. Ken Tofilau, 6. Brock Lamb, 7. Jack Cogger, 8. Josh King, 9. Jake McNamara, 10. Daniel Saifiti, 11. Bradie Smith, 12. Ben Stone, 13. Noah Easton. Interchange: 14. Nathan Lo Monaco, 15. Tyrone Amey, 16. Roman Fepuleai, 17. Sam Apthorpe, 18. Scott Tofa Timoteo.
1. Ryan Cummins, 2. Levy Sopi, 3. Joshua Addo-Carr, 4. Jamayne Isaako, 5. Semisi Vea, 6. Jaden Clarke, 7. Brad Deitz, 8. Alec Susino, 9. Jayden Brailey, 10. Harrison Muller, 11. Anthony Moraitis, 12. Ashleigh Nisbet, 13. Jayden McDonogh. Interchange: 14. Jack Williams, 15. Tepatasi Fuiava, 16. Curtis Scott, 17. Billy Magoulias, 18. Daniel Liddicoat, 19. Pat Hasson, 20. Leon Tupuola, 21. Francis Laloua-Tui.
The ninth placed Newcastle Knights are firm on stringing together a third consecutive win when they return to Hunter Stadium on Sunday to take on the Cronulla Sharks.
It was a closely matched affair the last time the sides met with the Knights pulling off a late try in the dying minutes to seal the Round 6 win.
“We have been playing quite well of late and have had great effort from these young men,” NYC team manager and development coach Craig Smith said.
“They have been travelling quite well and so have we, so it should be an entertaining match.
“Given opportunities in attack they like to score points.
“What we are trying to coach into younger sides is based around completion rates and minimising the opportunities you give other sides.
“I’d be expecting them to be a tough opposition for us.”
NYC halves combination Jack Cogger and Brock Lamb are fit to back up from playing with the U18s NSW representative side against Queensland at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Wednesday night.
“If we can back that up on the weekend with a little bit of direction from our representative halves that will go a long way to getting us the win,” Smith added.
The Sharks also featured four of its NYC squad members in the U18s NSW side, who will now be familiar faces in the opposition for Cogger and Lamb.
“It will help our two playmakers to prepare a little bit,” he said.
“On the back of having three Knights players last night and four Cronulla players, it will depend on how they back up on how the team evolves.”
Lamb is set to move back into the halves for the Knights after playing the last few matches at fullback.
“That’s his preferred position and where he played on Wednesday night, so he’ll take a bit of confidence out of that and will hopefully be able to steer us around the park this week,” he said.
“Donovan makes a return to fullback, he has played there many times before and that’s what our team needs at the moment.”
Meanwhile, Luke Yates and Danny Levi have been named to step up the Knights’ reserve grade side in Round 15.
“That’s what the 20s system is all about and is credit to hard our guys have been working,” he said.
“Luckily for us we don’t have anyone debuting, so anyone playing will have played for us previously.
“We are not making any drastic changes in that respect.
“Losing quality players may have an effect on the team’s performance, but the way we have been performing of late, we have had a number of key performers in our side.
“The fact we are playing at home again for us represents another opportunity to show our local fans what our 20s system is about.”
Where it will be won:
“Like all games of footy it will be won in the forwards and a little bit of direction from our halves,” Smith said.
“The lion’s share of the ball is shared around your forward pack.
“If the forwards can do their jobs with the backs that we have, then we’ll be okay..
“If they don’t hang onto the ball and we are asked to do a lot of defending, then we are in trouble.”