St George Illawarra Dragons v Newcastle Knights
Saturday September 3
Gates open: 10.30am
Venue: Jubilee Oval
1. Nick Meaney, 2. Kainoa Gudgeon, 3. Cory Denniss, 4. Henry Penn, 5. Matthew Soper-Lawler, 6. Nick Newman. 7. Hayden Herbert, 8. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown, 9. Tom Starling, 10. Jayden Butterfield, 11. Zac Hosking, 12. Sam Stone, 13. Braden Robson. Interchange: 14. Joe Morris, 15. Heath Gibbs, 16. Cameron King, 17. Ryan Glanville, 18. Eddy Tuilotolava.
1. Matt Dufty, 2. Matheson Johns, 3. Patrick Herbert (c), 4. Izaac Thompson, 5. Paora Kemp, 6. Jai Field, 7. Jack Payne, 8. Matt Jurd, 10. Reece Robson, 11. Keelyn Tuuta-Edwards, 12. Topiese Taufa, 13. Nathan Leatigaga. Interchange: 14. Cooper Purell, 15. TJ Uele, 16. Brayden Gallagher, 17. Jacob Esau.
While the NYC Knights can’t make it into the the finals regardless of the result on Saturday morning, coach Todd Lowrie says there is still plenty to play for.
“We’re playing against a top four team and we’ve been playing pretty well lately,” he said.
“We want to finish the season on a high and the players will be motivated to put in a good performance for their teammates.”
There will be two big omissions in halfback Jack Cogger and prop Tyrone Amey, as their season finishes prematurely through injury.
“They’re two of our big leaders, Coggs obviously in the halves and Tyrone is certainly the leader of our forward pack,” Lowrie explained.
“Those two will be missed, but all it does is give some other guys the opportunity to come in and we’re only bringing in people that have played a lot throughout the year.”
Everyone in the team will have to be on top of their game, as the Dragons sit in fourth place travelling into Round 26.
“From watching them, they run hard and carry the ball really well,” Lowrie said.
“Our boys are going to have to be on physically, and willing to accept the challenge.”
Regardless of the result tomorrow, the young red and blues will finish in ninth place on the ladder, agonisingly short of a finals berth.
“From a results point of view it’s a little bit disappointing that we’re not going to make the eight,” Lowrie admitted.
“With a couple more wins we could have.”
But there has been plenty of success in the squad as well, as Cogger, Brock Lamb and Cory Denniss have made their first grade debuts, while a multitude of players have spent time in the Intrust Super Premiership.
“As the 20s our job is to get blokes prepared for first grade, and we’ve had more than we expected play first grade,” Lowrie said.
“Everyone that’s gone up has actually performed quite well, so I suppose from a development point of view it’s been a really good year for the team.”
Where it will be won:
“Through the forward pack,” Lowrie said.
“They’ve got a big strong forward pack that runs hard, so we’re just going to need to match them in the forwards.”
The final word:
“I’m confident that we’ve got the footy playing skills to score enough tries if we need to,” Lowrie said.