Newcastle Knights v Penrith Panthers
Date: Saturday April 8
Venue: St Marys Leagues Stadium
1. Nick Meaney, 2. Cory Denniss, 3. Tom Hughes, 4. Jacob Gagan, 5. Kainoa Gudgeon, 6. Will Pearsall, 7. Jaelen Feeney, 8. Jacob Saifiti, 9. Tyler Randell, 10. Pauli Pauli, 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon, 12. Luke Yates, 13. Josh King. Interchange: 14. Braden Robson, 15. David Bhana, 16. Tyrone Amey, 17. Pat Mata’utia, 18. Faitotoa Faitotoa, 19. Joey Morris, 20. Sam Bernstrom, 21. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown.
1. Matt Moylan, 2. Lachlan Stein, 3. Waqa Blake, 4. Peta Hiku, 5. Christian Crichton, 6. Darren Nicholls, 7. Jarome Luai, 8. Kaide Ellis, 9. Mitch Rein, 10. Paea Pua, 11. Tyrone May, 12. Jack Hetherington, 13. Samisoni Langi. Interchange: 14. Corey Waddell, 15. Oliver Clark, 16. Nick Lui-Toso, 17. Liam Coleman.
It will be a tough task for the Reserve Grade Newcastle Knights this weekend with the Penrith Panthers side stacked with extra strike power.
Matt Moylan, Peta Hiku and Waqa Blake will all play in the ISP competition on Saturday due to a breach of team protocol.
ISP coach Simon Woolford said it obviously strengthens the opposition.
“There is no doubt it will be harder, Moylan is their captain and State of Origin player, so he’s going to make a big difference to that team,” explained Woolford.
“The other two are quality as well, so we’re going to have to be at our best to give ourselves a chance.
“We can’t be intimidated by the fact those guys are playing, we need to take it as a challenge and go down there believing we can win.
“Anything is possible, that is the attitude I’ll be instilling into the guys over the next few days.
“We will tinker with a few things before Friday and we’ll go in with a plan that we believe can win us the game.”
The Reserve Grade side will see the return of Jacob Gagan in the centres after he made his NRL debut against the Cronulla Sharks last week.
“It was unfortunate we loss Jacob (Gagan) an hour before the game with (Nathan) Rossy pulling out but we did ok without him,” said Woolford.
“He is certainly a quality player and we’re happy to get him back into the side.”
Forward Pauli Pauli will also return for his second match of the season, back from injury after a car crash two months ago.
“Pauli is going to take a little bit of time, he’s had a long lay-off with a pretty serious injury so I thought he did really well last week,” added Woolford.
“We will try get his minutes up again this week so he’s headed in the right direction, he worked pretty hard while he was injured so he is doing ok.”
Where it will be won
“We took a big step forward last week with our ball security and completion so hopefully we will be even better this week and give ourselves a chance,” Woolford said.
The ISP coach maintains ball control is a definite recipe for the win.
“It doesn’t matter what level you’re playing at, who you’re playing against, if you control the footy, you give yourself a chance to score points,” commented Woolford.
“In particular playing against Penrith who are going to have some quality attacking players in their team, we need to limit their chances and that will be the focus this week.”
The ISP side clash with the Penrith Panthers at St Marys Leagues Stadium on Saturday, kick-off is at 5pm.