Reserve Grade Preview: Round 25
Newcastle Knights v Wests Tigers
Sunday August 28
Gates open: 11.30am
1. Dylan Phythian, 2. Ken Tofilau, 3. Ryan Walker, 4. Tom Hughes, 5. Bryce Donovan, 6. Jaelen Feeney, 7. Jake McNamara, 8. Uiti Baker, 9. Krys Freeman, 10. Jack Stockwell, 11. Pauli Pauli, 12. Lachlan Fitzgibbon, 13. David Bhana, 14. Kurt Aldridge, 15. Ben Stone, 16. Bradie Smith, 17. Sam Bernstrom.
1. Watson Heleta, Charlie Taylor, 3. Chance Peni, 4. Leighton Tali, 5. Jayden Wheelhouse, 6. Jackson Littlejohn, 7. Justin Hunt, 8. Jordan Grant, 9. Robbie Farrah, 10. JJ Felise, 11. Tyler Cassel, 12. Curtis Sironen, 13. Matthew Eisenhuth, 14. Manaia Cherrington, 15. Jackson Williams, 16. Wesley Lolo, 17. Dallas Grahah, 19. Manaia Rudolph.
The Reserve Grade Newcastle Knights will be looking to harness the passion and energy surrounding Old Boys Day when they come up against Wests Tigers in their final round of the Intrust Super Premiership.
The side is determined to bring plenty of energy from the outset after failing to bring intensity to the first half of last Saturday’s match against the Wyong Roos.
“I thought we were disappointing in the first half against Wyong,” coach Matt Lantry said.
“We had five attacking sets and only completed one of those five.
“Four of those errors came on play one or two and you just don’t give yourself the opportunity to build any pressure.
“I thought if we could have gotten on the scoreboard before halftime, the mountain we had to climb in the second half would have been a bit smaller.
“To our credit we showed some real spirit and for ourselves in a position where a win wasn’t out of the realms of possibility.”
Some movement within the team’s outside backs has been forced after Akuila Uate suffered a season ending ankle injury last weekend.
“Losing anyone with Aku’s experience is disappointing but I have been really happy with the way Ryan Walker and Tom Hughes have been within our team,’ he said.
“They have made a real difference, which is critical to our performance and will do a good job at centre this week.”
As the compettion sits on the verge of finals football, the Wests Tigers are third on the ladder.
The team has been bolstered by the inclusion of experienced hooker Robbie Farrer in the back end of the season.
“They have real class right across the field. Watson Heleta (fullback) is a real danger anytime he touches the footy,’ he said.
Meanwhile, Justin Hunt in the halves was a member of the NSW Residents representative side this season.
“They will need to win on the basis they are pushing to be in the top four,” he added.
“The Tigers were beaten by Manly last weekend, we will need to make sure we are ready to play as they will be, there’s no doubting that.”
Where it will be won:
“We need to improve on our performance last week,’ Lantry said.
“If we can get the share of possession we had last week and convert that into pressure where we ask the Tigers to defend repeats sets.
We also need to be clinical with our kicking game and good out of our own end on the back of a good kick chase game.
“I think the priority is set completion and doing the best with the time with the ball.”
Old Boys Day:
The Newcastle Knights’ Reserve Grade side is eager to kick the annual Old Boys Day off in a positive way on Sunday.
“For us regardless of who goes out there, it’s Old Boys Day, we have the responsibility on the day to play with the spirit the Knights are renowned for and go back to the early days.
It was about blue collar workers and you roll up your sleeves regardless of your ability, you had to be able to tackle, have plenty of toughness and plenty of tomorrows.
They built their Club theme on the three Ts and that’s what we will expect from our team and finish the year with a decent performance.
I’m not too worried about the result as if we turn up and get some of those things done it will give ourselves an opportunity to be competitive and potentially win the game.