Newcastle Knights v North Sydney Bears
Date: Saturday March 18
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium
1. Nick Meaney, 2. Cory Denniss, 3. Tom Hughes, 4. Jacob Gagan, 5. Kainoa Gudgeon, 6. Will Pearsall, 7. Tyler Randell, 8. Josh King, 9. Tom Starling, 10. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown, 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon, 12. Joe Wardle, 13. Anthony Tupou. Interchange: 14. Braden Robson, 15. David Bhana, 16. Sam Bernstrom, 17. Pat Mata’utia, 18. Faitotoa Faitotoa, 19. Jake McNamara, 20. Tyrone Amey.
1. Latrell Robinson, 2. Dane Nielsen, 3. Edward Murphy, 4. Tyrell Fuimaono, 5. Sitiveni Moceidreke, 6. Luke Kelly, 7. Eli Levido, 8. Thomas Burgess, 9. Bradley Deitz, 10. David Tyrrell, 11. Tautalatasi Tasi, 12. Cameron Murray, 13. Cheyne Whitelaw. Interchange: 14. Tobias Rudolf, 15. Clayton Williams, 16. Piki Rogers, 17. Shawn Hunt.
The Reserve Grade nib Newcastle Knights will be looking for their first win of the season when they host the North Sydney Bears in round three at McDonald Jones Stadium this Saturday.
ISP coach Simon Woolford has been forced to make a few changes after two of his experienced players were ruled out due to injury.
Kainoa Gudgeon moves up from NYC to be named on the wing.
“Kainoa (Gudgeon) played in a trial with us, he’s a pretty mature guy for his age and he certainly knows how to play the game, so it was a no brainer getting him up obviously,” explained Woolford.
“Joe Wardle played in the centres last week, we’re looking to get him to the back row where he’s more comfortable while Jacob Gagan will come in to the centres and Kainoa will slip straight into the wings so I’m looking forward to seeing that combination.”
Josh King and Jamayne Taunoa-Brown will start in the front row, with Mickey Paea and Sam Mataora also ruled out due to injury.
“Mickey and Sam are both out for extended periods, it just gives guys like Tyrone Amey and Jamayne Taunoa-Brown an opportunity,” said the ISP coach.
“While we’re losing a bit of experience, we’re bringing in some enthusiasm and some guys who are at the start of their careers and looking to do well.”
Tyler Randell moves from hooker to halfback, with 18-year-old Tom Starling being named in both reserve grade and NYC at dummy-half.
Also, new to the bench, Sam Bernstrom has been named at number 16.
“Sam Bernstrom will more than likely get an opportunity this week, with some injuries to middle players, it has given opportunities to other guys,” said Woolford.
“They have trained hard in the pre-season and backed themselves to get a game in ISP.
“We’ve still got a lot of improving to do defensively, we’re still not quite where we need to be with the footy but I’m confident we can get do well this weekend against the Bears.”
Where it will be won
The ISP coach believes they will need to concentrate on a wet weather style of football this weekend with rain forecast for Saturday.
“The Bears in their first two games have had a really high completion rate so they’ve respected the footy, whereas on the other hand we haven’t,” Woolford said.
“In the wet conditions, we need to play a little bit tougher than we have in the first two weeks, make sure we get to our kick and complete our sets a lot better than we have.
“If we go set to set with the Bears, I’m pretty confident we’ve got the right attacking ability to get some points.”
The Reserve Grade Knights take on the North Sydney Bears at McDonald Jones Stadium at 2.10pm this Saturday.