NEWTOWN JETS v NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
Round 24, NSW Cup
Date: Saturday August 22, 12.40pm
Venue: Remondis Stadium
Last time they met:
The Newcastle Knights defeated the Jets 32-16 at Kurri Kurri in Round 2 of the season.
Daniel Abou-Sleiman 2. Nathan Gardner 3. Mitch Brown 4. Sami Sauiluma
5. Corin Smith 6. Blake Ayshford 7. Todd Murphy 8. Andrew Pearn 9. Kurt Kara
10. Malakai Houma 11. Tarek Elmasri 12. Junior Roqica 13. Tim Robinson. Interchange: 14. Kurt Dillon, 15. Pat Politoni 17. Ray Moujalli, 18. Gerard McCallum, 21. Saulala Houma, 23. Myles Taueli.
1. Carlos Tuimavave, 2. Honeti Tuha, 3. Pat Mata’utia, 4. Chanel Mata’utia, 5. Kerrod Holland, 6. George Ndaira, 7. Jaelen Feeney, 8. Damian Sironen, 9. Danny Levi, 10. Tama Koopu, 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon, 12. Brett Jarrett, 13. Luke Yates. Interchange: 14. James Elias, 15. James Taylor, 16. Michael Steele, 17. Ben Tupou.
The Knights are eager to bounce back after a comprehensive loss to the North Sydney Bears last weekend and will use Saturday’s match against the Newtown Jets as the ideal starting point.
NSW Cup Knights coach Matt Lantry says the side struggled to control the Bears through the middle defensively and failed to make their mark on the game early on
“We are looking for an improved performance this week,” he said.
“What we dished up last week, we knew wasn’t good enough.
“Defensively we need to get ourselves together and make sure we’re prepared to put our bodies in front and have a go.
The Jets have struggled with form this season and come into Saturday's game from a two-point loss to the third placed Penrith Panthers last weekend.
“Realistically, it’s do or die for them this weekend,” he said.
“They need to win to keep their finals chances alive.
“They will be desperate and we’re aware of that and they’re on their home track."
According to Lantry, the Jets’ forward pack is the opponent’s biggest weapon.
“They have a big forward pack and probably their strength is their outside backs.
Blake Ayshford and Todd Murphy are also expected to bring experience to the opposition’s halves.
Yet he’s confident the Knights have plenty of strike power to combat that threat.
“Carlos (Tuimavave) sharpened up our attack a little bit and was good when he put himself on the ball,” he said.
“He gets a bit of opportunity to run both side.”
Meanwhile, Tama Koopu will form part of the starting forward pack and has earned his stripes coming in for Pat Vaivai.
“This week comes down to a 17-man contribution, everyone needs to bring something to the table particularly after last week,” he added.
“Whether you are starting or coming off the bench, defending on the wing, or middle, you have to make sure you’re prepared to do a job for everyone, particularly yourself.”
Where it will be won:
“If we are prepared to do the hard work initially and to continually challenge ourselves to work hard for 80 minutes then that will be our greatest challenge," he said.
“Whilst the top 8 is sitting there, we need to take some momentum into those finals and put in some good performances and that starts this week.”