Reserve Grade Preview: Round 22
Newcastle Knights v Newtown Jets
Date: Saturday August 6
Venue: Hunter Stadium
Gates open: 10.30am
Reserve Grade: 12.40pm
1. Bryce Donovan, 2. Ken Tofilau, 3. Ryan Walker, 4. Tyme Dow-Nikau, 5. Dean Kouka Smith, 6. Jaelen Feeney, 7. Will Pearsall, 8. Uiti Baker, 9. Krys Freeman, 10. Luke Yates ©, 11. Ben Stone, 12. Tom Hughes, 13. Braden Robson. Interchange: 14. Jake McNamara, 15. Kurt Aldridge, 16. Bradie Smith, 17. Sam Bernstrom.
1. Jaline Graham, 2 Travis Robinson, 3 Kurt Capewell, 4 Matt Evans, 5 Jacob Gagan, 6 Josh Cleeland, 7 Arana Taumata, 8. Junior Roqica, 9 Matt McIlwrick, 10. Jesse Sene-Lefao, 11 Malakai Houma, 12 Jason Schirnack, 13 Kurt Kara. Interchange: 14 Kurt Dillon, 16. Harrison Muller, 17 Saulala Houma, 18. Corin Smith, 21. Kenny Niko.
The Reserve Grade Knights prepare to take on the Newtown Jets at Hunter Stadium this Saturday in Round 22 of the IntrustSuper Premiership competition.
Last week was a busy one for the team with a Round 13 catch up match played against the Manly Sea Eagles on Wednesday evening at Brookvale followed closely by Saturday’s Round 21 game against the Canturbury-Bankstown Bulldogs.
A win in both games eluded the Knights, but coach Matt Lantry was happy with the effort and commitment shown by his players in two physically demanding games.
“Last week was a considerable load physically and mentally, particularly towards the back end of the year,” he said.
“We have bumps and bruises which most teams have at this time of the year, but we are going okay."
This weekend Jaelen Feeney and Will Pearsall are again named in the halves and are hoped to bring leadership and organisation to the young side.
“It’s the first time we have put the same halves pairing out this year, which has been a real issue for the team’s consistency,” he said.
“Jaelen and Will work well together, so I’m looking forward to seeing them out on the field again together.”
Meanwhile, a sense of stability has been found in the team’s spine with Krys Freeman building momentum at hooker following a return from injury.
“We just need to keep it together so we can get some consistency in the remainder of the year,” he said.
Part-time player Tyme Dow-Nikau impressed in his first game back on the weekend against Manly and back his performance up against the Bulldogs on Saturday.
“He really showed he has the ability to play at this level, it’s just the belief in himself and challenging himself to be a consistent player,’ he said.
“His last two game have been great for us.
“Ben Stone is another standout who has been playing well above his weight.
“His work ethic is second to none and he has been really challenging himself to take his game to another level."
The Newtown Jets will be no easy task, but the Knights aim to draw strength from playing back at home after a number of games on the road.
“The Jets had a tight win against the Penrith Panthers, 12-10 last week. To try to pinpoint where you’ll win the game in enormously difficult,” he said.
“Their forward pack boasts the size of Junior Roqica, Jesse Sene-Lefao and Malakai Houma.
“They present a big physical pack and Matt McIlwrick at dummy half is dangerous.
“They also have quality outside backs so we will have to be at our very best to give ourselves an opportunity to win this weekend.”
Where it will be won:
“When you play the top teams and the bottom ranked sides aren’t supposed to win the game, and are there abouts on the scoreboard, the top team generally feels pressure and starts to do some uncharacteristic things,’ Lantry said.
“That’s what we got out of Canterbury last week and we just weren’t able to capitilise and made errors on top of their errors.
“The weekend is all about pure effort in every area of the game we can apply ourselves to.
“What we have really challenged our guys on is pure effort and they showed that against Manly and Canterbury.
"People look at the score line last week 34-16 but it was no indication of the game.
"With just on 10 minutes to go, the game was still in the balance
“There were just errors we made and the amount of petrol we had in our tank on the Wednesday night game and the amount of defence we had to do which was a telling factor.
“The way to show you have improved and are learning is to not make the same mistakes twice.”
The Knights celebrate Women in League Round this weekend with plenty planned to toast the contributions women make to the game. For the full details, click here.