NYC Preview: Round 3

Newcastle Knights v South Sydney Rabbitohs
Date: Saturday March 18
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium
Kick-off: 12.15pm

Squads

NEWCASTLE

1. Matt Cooper, 2. Mitch Andrews 3. Brayden Musgrove, 4. Heath Gibbs, 5. Dean Kouka-Smith, 6. Jack Johns, 7. Hayden Loughrey, 8. Viko Puliuvea, 9. Tom Starling, 10. Cameron King, 11. Zac Hosking, 12. Sam McIntyre, 13. Kurtis Dark. Interchange: 14. Dylan Clark, 15. Will Davies, 16. Keanu Dawson, 17. Eddy Tuilotolava, 18. Lachlan Farr, 19. Nash Birch, 20. Tavita Fesolai, 21. Jayden Hocking, 22. Brendan O’Hagan, 23. Kye Hopwood.

SOUTH SYDNEY

1. Dylan O’Connor, 2. Bailey Shiach-Wise, 3. Campbell Graham, 4. Mawene Hiroti, 5. Tyrone Taukamo, 6. Adam Doueihi, 7. Harry Leddy, 8. Henry-Siriah Fuimaono, 9. Phoenix Hunt, 10. Josh Saunders, 11. Lucky Taavale, 12. Keaon Koloamatangi, 13. Gabe Hamlin. Interchange: 14. Rangi-Paoa Boyce, 15. Tarquinn Butler, 16. Blake Manowski, 17. Cruz Topai-Aveai, 18. Beau Cordtz, 19. Sam Johnstone, 20. Charles Shepherd, 22. Theo Hippi.

Match Analysis

NYC coach Todd Lowrie has named a near unchanged starting 17 for Saturday’s round three match against the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

Dean Kouka-Smith has been selected on the wing with Kainoa Gudgeon moving to Reserve Grade this week.

“Kainoa has done really well, he’s had a great off-season and played a fair few games for us last year,” said Lowrie.

“It hasn’t taken him long to get his chance in Reserve Grade and he thoroughly deserves his chance up there.

“We’re bringing in Dean Kouka-Smith who played for us in round one and played really well, so he gets another chance.”

Jayden Hocking and Kye Hopwood are the new names on the extended bench this week with Pasami Saulo sidelined due to a concussion. Prop Jayden Butterfield remains out due to a work injury.

The Under 20s coach maintains last week’s 44-40 loss was very disappointing after a promising win over the New Zealand Warriors in the opening round.

“We’ve spoken about doing what we’ve practiced in training,” he said.

“The boys have to turn up every week, ready to play.

“They are working hard at preparing for this week against the Rabbitohs."

He’ll be looking to fullback Matt Cooper to put in another solid performance.

“He got the Players’ Player and thoroughly deserved it,” Lowrie said.

“For a guy in his third NYC game, his performance has been really good for us.”

Where it will be won

The Under 20s coach believes they need to concentrate on a complete team performance.

“Souths are a good team, as they all are, so if our guys can concentrate on what we need to do well and playing back to our fundamentals, things that we work hard on will take care of itself,” said Lowrie.

“Everyone has to pull their weight, that’s something we didn’t do last week so everyone has a job to do for the team."

The Under 20s match is the first of three games at McDonald Jones Stadium this Saturday.