CANBERRA RAIDERS v NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS

Round 18, 2015 Holden Cup
Date: Friday July 10, 5.30pm
Venue: GIO Stadium

Last time they met:

The NYC Knights notched a one point win with the final score settled at 29-28 at Hunter Stadium in Round 13.

Teams:

CANBERRA RAIDERS

1. Chevi Ellis, 2. Lachlan Hurst, 3. Brenko Lee, 4. Cameron Booth, 5. Jack Hickson, 6. Lachlan Lewis, 7. Dylan McGrath, 8. Tevita Pangai Junior, 9. Zac Woolford, 10. Cleveland McGhie, 11. Jack Williams, 12. Kalani Going, 13. Luke Bateman. Interchange: 14. Brett Solomon, 15. Daniel Dole, 16. Sione Afemui, 17. Morgan Boyle, 18. Taniela Moa, 19. Tevita Aroha-Tuinauvai.

NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS

1. Bryce Donovan, 2. Fuaimamao Uta, 3. Josh Birch, 4. Braden Robson, 5. Ken Tofilau, 6. Brock Lamb, 7. Dylan Phythian, 8. Josh King, 9. Jake McNamara, 10. Daniel Saifiti, 11. Bradie Smith, 12. Ben Stone, 13. Luke Yates. Interchange: 14. Jack Kelly, 15. Tyrone Amey, 16. Roman Fepuleai, 17. Sam Apthorpe, 18. Sam Stone.

Match analysis:

The Newcastle Knights hit the road to take on the Canberra Raiders on Friday afternoon for what’s expected to be a tough contest in chilly conditions.

The young Knights will be tested by the arduous road trip and the cold Canberra climate, but have prepared well and are focused on replicating their last win against the team earlier in the season.

The Raiders sit at seventh place with the Knights two rungs below at ninth and at this time of the year, teams are getting more serious about securing a top eight spot.

“We have prepared really well this week and are aware of the circumstances that will present themselves,” NYC Knights’ team manager and development coach Craig Smith said.

“It’s going to be freezing when we get down there so that’s another challenge for our young boys.”

There has been some movement in the Knights’ halves with Dylan Phythian set to appear at halfback playing alongside Brock Lamb with Jack Cogger sidelined through injury.

Bryce Donovan will continue to prove his capabilities in the number one jersey.

“It’s exciting for us to try a new combination,” he said.

“It gives us a little bit of a point of difference.”

Dylan Phythian comes into the Round 18 encounter after playing two games in NSW Cup in the halves and at fullback.

“He’s a player we’re hoping to have around the Club for a long time,” he said.

A positive from the past few rounds is the consistency and continuity in the Knights’ line-up.

“Our team is now starting to sort itself out and the boys are starting to play on a consistent basis,” he said.

“Our bench has been pretty strong the last couple of weeks.

Luke Yates will also re-join the U20s Knights after being promoted to the NSW Cup competition and on Wednesday, representing in the winning U20s NSW Origin team.

“That will be a handy boost for us,” he said.

Smith expects the Raiders to be extremely tough at their home ground.

“They have a big forward in Tevita Pangai Junior who is coming back from playing in their NSW Cup Mounties side.

“He will be a handful for us and will strengthen their side.

“We will have to keep an eye on him.

“Our focus in getting the win is in playing a nice brand of rugby league and in being consistent in areas we need to be especially in kick chase and defence.”

Where it will be won:

Completion.

“I think compeletion is vital on a cold night in Canberra," Smith said. 

"The more you hang on to our ball and complete sets without giving them too many opportunities, that will help us.

“If we apply our game plan with plenty of effort and energy we’ll be alright.”