MOUNTIES v NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
Preliminary final, NSW Cup
Date: Sunday September 20, 3.10pm
Venue: Leichhardt Oval
Last time they met:
In the NSW Cup Newcastle Knights’ last encounter against the Mounties in Round 13, the Knights prevailed 32-22 winners at Hunter Stadium, redeeming a close 24-22 loss to the opposition in Round 5.
1. Jake Mamo, 2. Honeti Tuha, 3. Kerrod Holland, 4. Nathan Ross, 5. Ken Tofilau, 6. Carlos Tuimavave, 7. Jaelen Feeney, 8. Damian Sironen, 9. Danny Levi, 10. Sam Mataora, 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon, 12. Joseph Tapine, 13. Clint Newton. Interchange: 14. George Ndaira, 15. Luke Yates, 16. Michael Steele, 17. Josh King, 18. Marvin Filipo, 27. Tama Koopu.
1. Jack Ahearn, 2. Stewart Mills, 3. Mitch Cronin, 4. Jeremy Hawkins, 5. Brenko Lee, 6. Josh McCrone (c), 7. Mitch Cornish, 8. Kyle O’Donnell, 9. Glen Buttriss, 10. Mark Nicholls, 11. Patrick Mago, 12. Mitch Barnett, 13. Joel Edwards. Interchange: 14. Rhys Kennedy, 15. Jeff Lynch, 16. Sam Duggan, 17. Clay Priest, 18. Pat Mataele.
The NSW Cup Newcastle Knights aim to topple another of the competition’s heavyweights, the Mounties, in the preliminary NSW Cup final on Sunday at Leichhardt Oval.
The Knights are riding the wave of two comprehensive wins in week one and two of the finals series while the Mounties thrashed the Warriors 43-10 in week one of the finals gifting the side a week’s respite.
“I think the pure advantage is the week off, it gives a rest to their bodies,” NSW Cup Matt Lantry said about the opposition’s lead into the Sunday’ game.
“You want to take the shortest possible pathway through to the grand final.”
However, he believes the Knights have built momentum and confidence from gutsy back-to-back triumphs.
The Knights came out the other side of two tough clashes against the Manly Sea Eagles and 2015 premiers, the Penrith Panthers, unwittingly carrying the underdog tag in both games.
“At the end of the day, what has helped us is that we’ve played two weeks worth of sudden-death footy and the Mounties are yet to experience that,” he said.
“Some teams handle it and some don’t, so I’d like to think from that sense, it’s an advantage for us to go through two weeks of it now.
“We aim to play to our ability to get the job done and go through to next week.”
Players like Nathan Ross and injured Chanel Mata’utia can provide some insight into a number of the opposition's players through their experience playing in the NSW representative side earlier this year.
According to Lantry, the key to the Mounties game is their spine.
He puts a magnifying glass on five-eighth Josh McCrone, halfback Mitch Cornish and hooker Glen Buttriss who all boast a good portion of NRL experience.
“They will be looking to be dominant throughout the middle third and will be aggressive which is a traditional Mounties side,” he said.
Once again the Knights aim to rely on a solid defensive component of their game.
“The pleasing thing for me is not so much the two big winning margins and the points we’ve scored, it’s what we’ve done defensively,” he reflected.
“We’ve had to withstand some pressure early on in both games.
“I think we are building some confidence to play some good footy, when we can absorb that pressure defensively throughout the game.
“We know Mounties will be the favourites coming into this weekend’s game, but that means nothing when a ball is kicked.
“It’s an 80 minute contest, so we’ve be doing everything we can to ensure we have a crack.”
Where it will be won:
“The thing will be who can absorb the most pressure defensively,” Lantry said.
“They have points in them no doubting that, but I think it will be a lower scoring game for both teams."
“Hopefully we can get some Newcastle supporters down at Leichhardt Oval,” Lantry enthused.
“There was a good contingent down there at Kogarah, which is great to see and good for the boys.
“We certainly take notice of the people that do come to the games and they certainly find their voice.”
The game will also be broadcast live on FOX Channel 501.