West Tigers v Newcastle Knights
Date: Saturday April 29
Venue: Leichhardt Oval
1. Nick Meaney, 2. Tom Hughes, 3. Cory Denniss, 4. Chanel Mata’utia, 5. Jacob Gagan, 6. Will Pearsall, 7. Trent Hodkinson, 8. Mickey Paea, 9. Tyler Randell, 10. Pauli Pauli, 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon, 12. Pat Mata’utia, 13. Josh King. Interchange: 14. Joey Morris, 15. Braden Robson, 16. Sam Mataora, 17. Bradie Smith, 18. Faitotoa Faitotoa, 19. Tom Starling, 20. Sam Bernstrom, 21. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown, 22. Tyrone Amey.
1. Justin Hunt, 2. Nathan Milone, 3. Watson Heleta, 4. Esan Marsters-Siavale, 5. Ryland Jacobs, 6. Jackson Littlejohn, 7. Jordan Rankin, 8. Jacob Felise, 9. Jeremy Marshall-King, 10. Wesley Lolo, 11. Bayley Sironen, 12. Kyle Lovett, 13. Matthew Eisenhuth. Interchange. 14. Darcy Cox, 15. Tevita Tatola, 16. Jackson Williams, 17. Jordan Grant, 18. Andrew Kazzi, 21. Luke Garner.
The Reserve Grade Newcastle Knights will be heading into this weekend’s game with a wealth of experience, notably NRL veteran Trent Hodkinson, who moves into the number seven jersey.
“Trent (Hodkinson) has come back to find some confidence,” said ISP coach Simon Woolford.
“His form has been a bit down and so hopefully he comes back and gets some confidence and plays some good footy for us and I’m sure he’ll work his way back into the top squad.”
Due to return from injury last week, Chanel Mata’utia will make his comeback on Saturday.
“Chanel was a little bit tight in his hamstring late in the week so we gave him another week off,” explained Woolford.
“He has come back really keen and eager to get back playing some good footy so it’s good to see him with the attitude he’s got.
“He is itching to get out there, I’m sure we’re going to see some good footy from him over the next few weeks.”
With Kainoa Gudgeon and Tom Starling dropping back to NYC, the Knights Reserve Grade side is set to field an experienced outfit against the West Tigers who are sitting at the bottom of the ladder.
“We have got Jacob Gagan back, Tyler (Randell) will get to go back into hooker to play with Trent (Hodkinson) so those guys will get the opportunity to go back again and play some footy,” commented Woolford.
“It is not a matter of the boys being dropped to NYC due to poor form, it’s just a matter that we have some full-time senior players dropping back from the NRL squad.
“I am hoping with Trent in the team he will give us a little bit more guidance because last week when things went a bit pear-shaped, we didn’t play the way we planned to.
“Hopefully with the level head and the experience of Hokko (Trent Hodkinson) in the team, he’ll be able to make sure that we stick to our plan.
“We have also got Mickey Paea, Pauli Pauli and Sam Mataora coming in off the bench so there’s a lot of experience in the team which I’m hoping will give us more consistency over the 80 minutes.”
Where it will be won
“We are making errors and not defending them,” said the ISP coach.
Woolford admits they need to get back that hunger and resilience that wins matches.
“We had plenty of it against Penrith, a top-notch team but the last couple of weeks we’ve played lesser opposition as far as personnel and we’ve lost that hunger and that resilience to defend our line.
“Hopefully we can find that again this week because we’ve got no problems scoring points, we just need to get the other part of the game right.”