NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS v BRISBANE BRONCOS
Round 16, 2015 NYC Holden cup
Date: Friday June 26, 5.20pm
Venue: Suncorp Stadium
Last time they met:
The NYC Broncos were too good for the Knights in Round 11 when they beat them 52-12 at Hunter Stadium.
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. Tyrone Amey. Bench: 14. Jack Kelly, 15. Brody Lam, 16. Roman Fepuleai, 17. Jayden Butterfield, 18. Scott Tofa-Timoteo, 19. Jared Nott.
1. Jack Tuttle, 2. Jonus Pearson, 3. Jordan Drew, 4. Will Brimson 5. Jarryd Dodd, 6. Jayden Nikorima, 7. Ashley Taylor, 8. Joe Ofahengaue, 9. Jayden Berrell, 10. Lindsay Collins, 11. Lachlan Lanskey, 12. Alex Barr, 13. Jai Arrow. Bench: 14. Kalolo Saitaua, 15. Keegan Hipgrave, 16. Sam Lavea, 17. Kieran Duffin.
The NYC Broncos sit in third place on the ladder, and go into Friday's match in good form.
Last weekend alone they scored 13 tries, beating the Melbourne Storm 74-6 at AAMI Park.
The young Knights didn’t fare quite so well - going down 24-10 to the Sharks - but they still have plenty of talent in their own right.
According to head coach Troy Pezet, the main problem is that the NYC Knights are still very young and lack experience at this level.
12 players in the side are 18 or younger, while the team that won the minor premiership last year was full of players who were 19 or 20.
“There’s no guarantees in NYC obviously, but we’re a young and enthusiastic side and that will always give you a bit of a rollercoaster,” Pezet explains.
“We’ve got to be patient with these boys as they’re all very young, so they’ve got plenty of time and development ahead of them.”
Coming up against a Broncos side that is riding high on confidence will be a big test for Pezet’s young charges, but it will also add to their experience and development.
Before losing to the Sharks, the young red and blues had won their last two games against tough opponents.
This week is all about making a return to those impressive performances.
“We had a couple of good weeks, and then we hit a bit of a hurdle last week,” Pezet admits.
“The quick turnaround gives us an opportunity to get back on the horse and turn in a good performance this week.
“The Broncos are coming off a massive win against the Storm, so we’re going to have to be really enthusiastic and really tidy in all aspects of our game.”
While the Knights have had some trouble with their form at home this season, things have gone better on the road.
The side has won an impressive four out of five games away from Hunter Stadium, and Pezet believes that comes down to the camaraderie an away trip brings.
“The boys seem to enjoy being away together, and most of the times we’ve been away we’ve performed quite well,” he notes.
Five-eighth Brock Lamb has also been playing well since having a spell at fullback.
“With Brock it was just a bit of an opportunity to try and get some confidence back into his running game and we certainly did that,” Pezet says.
“But I think Bryce Donovan did a very good job back there last week… he ran the ball well.”
That allows Lamb to remain in his favoured position where he can continue to develop an understanding with halves partner Jack Cogger and hooker Jake McNamara.
“The three of them have got a good combination coming through the juniors, and that’s only going to get better week by week,” Pezet says.
“When we look at the side for this week with the likes of Brock, Jack and Jake, they could very well play the next 50 NYC games together.”
Where it will be won:
“We need to be really good defensively as the Broncos have a lot of points in them,” Pezet says.
“If we want to earn the right to attack, we’re going to have to work really hard in our defence.”