Reserve Grade match preview: Round 5

Newtown Jets v Newcastle Knights
Date: Saturday April 1
Venue: Southern Cross Group Stadium, Cronulla
Kick-off: 12.40pm

Squads

Newcastle

1. Nick Meaney, 2. Cory Denniss, 3. Tom Hughes, 4. Jacob Gagan, 5. Kainoa Gudgeon, 6. Will Pearsall, 7. Jaelen Feeney, 8. Josh King, 9. Tyler Randell, 10. Pauli Pauli, 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. Tom Starling, 20. Tyrone Amey, 21. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown.

Newtown

1. Luke Towers, 2. Matt Evans, 3. Jordan Drew, 4. Jesse Ramien, 5. Leigh Higgins, 6. Penani Manumalaelii, 7. Fa’amanu Brown, 8. Kurt Dillon, 9. Manaia Cherrington, 10. Sam Tagataese, 11. Tony Williams, 12.  Jayden Walker, 13. Jack Williams. Interchange: 14. Jaimin Jolliffe, 15. Kurt Kara, 17. Saulala Houma, 21. Kenny Niko.

Match Analysis

The Reserve Grade nib Newcastle Knights will be looking to go back-to-back after a thrilling comeback win against the Wentworthville Magpies last weekend.

ISP coach Simon Woolford welcomes the inclusion of forward Pauli Pauli to the line-up, his first match back after injuring his hip in a car accident.

“Pauli has been training really well,” said Woolford.

“It was unfortunate with the car accident, it set him back a couple of months but he’s looked after himself really well and keep the weight off and he’s as keen as mustard to get out there and play.

“We’ll start him, give him as much time as he gets through and then get him off and give him another stint in the second half.

“He adds a bit of size to our pack and he’s a very skilful player so he’s certainly a welcome addition.”

Jaelen Feeney, who was ruled out last week due to concussion, also returns to the side.

“It’s good to have Jaelen (Feeney) back, he had concussion in round three and was ruled out for the game against Wentworthville,” explained Woolford.

“He has trained well for the last couple of days and we’re looking forward to having him back in the team.”

Feeney’s return means Tyler Randell shifts back to starting hooker.

“Tyler is an experienced player, he did a really good job in the halves for us last week with Jaelen being ruled out but he’s preferred position is hooker that’s where he plays his best footy,” Woolford said.

“He’ll get an opportunity to play against a big pack this week with Pauli and Josh King in the pack and he’ll get a good opportunity to run the footy, I’m looking forward to seeing that.”

The ISP coach believes the Newtown Jets will be a difficult side with a lot of firepower in the forwards.

“Tony Williams is in the side, he’s spent most of his career playing NRL and Sam Tagataese, so they’ve got some really good middle unit players,” Woolford commented.

“We are going to need to do a really good job on them, they’ve also got a couple of creative halves too.

“I felt we turned a corner last week, although we didn’t play our best footy we found a way to win so hopefully a bit of confidence out of last week and some players back, we should be able to improve and make it two from two.”

Where it will be won

“We’ve just got to get a bit more ruthless with our attitude and just make sure that if we do get in-front that we stay there,” said Woolford.

“We need to keep doing the things that worked well for us early in the game and continue that for 80 minutes.”

Woolford believes defence will again be the key to a back-to-back victory.

“Your defence has got to be good no matter who you are playing,” he said.

“With some additions this weekend, I think our attack should flow a little bit more smoothly and hopefully our defence is good which will turn convert into points.”

Reserve Grade take on the Newtown Jets at Southern Cross Group Stadium, kick-off at 12.40pm.