Reserve Grade preview: Round 18
Mounties v Newcastle Knights
Date: Saturday July 9
Venue: Aubrey Keech Reserve
Kick off: 3pm
1. Bryce Donovan, 2. Tom Hughes, 3. Moa Uta, 4. Pat Mata'utia, 5. Akuila Uate, 6. Ryan Walker, 7. Will Pearsall, 8. Uiti Baker, 9. Chris Adams, 10. Jack Stockwell, 11. Pauli Pauli, 12. Lachlan Fitzgibbon, 13. David Bhana. Interchange: 14. Ben Stone, 15. Kurt Aldridge, 16. Bradie Smith, 17. Luke Yates, 20. Tama Koopu.
1. Zac Santo, 2. Kato Ottio, 3. Cameron Phelps, 4. Pat Mataele, 5. Alofi Mataele, 6. Maurice Kennedy, 7. Sam Williams, 8. Rhys Kennedy, 9. Adam Clydsdale, 10. Will Mataka, 11. Jarrad Kennedy, 12. Scott Sorenson, 13. Mitch Kennedy. Interchange: 14. Jacob Mayer, 15. Sam Duggan, 16. Royce Hunt, 17. Brent Naden.
Despite a promising start against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs last Sunday, the Newcastle Knights eventually lost their way, going down 38-18 at Newcastle's Number 2 Sportsground.
Despite the score line, there was once again good signs from the Knights.
“A thing to come out of the Bulldogs game is that we were really good again in patches but in other areas we were poor,” coach Matt Lantry said.
The reserve grade Knights were just two points from the Bulldogs at half time, but a flurry of tries early in the second stanza sealed their fate.
“It’s a constant challenge for us,” he said.
“The first try after half really set us on our heels.
“It was a bit of a lucky try with a chip over the top and a decent bounce, but we need to be better as a team in responding to that."
Facing up against an in-form and experienced Mounties side this weekend will rely on impeccable concentration and attention to detail from the Knights.
“We want to challenge our group every week to do our best to compete on every play," he said.
"That’s the periods where we’re not doing our best to compete on every play, either with or without the ball that we find ourselves in a bit of trouble and the opposition generally scores two or three quick tries."
Lantry hopes for his players to build on their personal performances from last weekend's match in order to have a competitive outing against the Mounties.
“There were some good individual performances, but what we need is a bigger chunk of quality individual performances,” he said.
Lantry says Chris Adams, who is named again this week after recently re-joining the Club earlier, did well on Sunday and will be better for the run.
Tom Hughes also played his first game in the red and blue after joining the Club from the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
Mao Uta is expected to return at centre this Saturday after sustaining a hamstring tear in the week leading into the Round 17 game.
With an influx of fresh talent, it’s hoped the side will find some consistency around its line-up.
“The issues around our team at the moment is the chopping and changing of our halves,” he said.
“I think Chris (Adams) will be the fourth or fifth hooker we have used this year.
“You need some steadiness around the spine.
“Hopefully Will (Pearsall) and Ryan (Walker) can build a combination in the halves with Bryce (Donovan) at fullback and whoever players hooker in the next few weeks can be a steady influence on the team too.”
The Knights hope to tap into some quality chemistry and cohesion this weekend when they meet the Mounties at Aubrey Keech Oval.
“You look at the depth of Canberra’s fulltime squad and the quality they have got there is certainly contributing to why Mounties are at the top,” he added.
“They are a good team which is well coached and have some keys guys with quality experience.
“They have Adam Clydsdale at nine and Sam Williams (halfback) who is probably an NRL player in his own right.
“Again the consistency we have lacked around the spine, they have had week in, week out with (Zac) Santo, Maurice Kennedy and Clydsdale.
“We need to be on our game consistently across the 80 minutes.”
Where it will be won:
Low error count.
“On the weekend we put ourselves under too much pressure through yardage errors,” Lantry said.
“The important thing for us is being competitive as we can be on every play but also being a bit tidier coming out of our own end and minimising our errors.
“If we are going to win this weekend we need to be around and 85-90 per cent completion rate.
“That’s not easy to achieve but it’s not unachievable as well.
“That’s what we need to do to give ourselves as chance to win.”
This weekend the NRL and NYC Knights have a bye but return to Hunter Stadium in Round 19 to take on the Melbourne Storm.