Reserve Grade match preview: Round 10

Newcastle Knights v Mounties
Date: Saturday May 13
Venue: Cessnock Sportsground
Kick-off: 3pm

Squads

Knights

1. Nick Meaney, 2. Tom Hughes, 3. Braden Robson, 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. Bradie Smith, 16. Sam Mataora, 17. Tyrone Amey, 18. Faitotoa Faitotoa, 19. Thomas Cronan, 20. Sam Bernstrom, 21. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown.

Mounties

1. Zachary Santo, 2. Edward Aiono, 3. Brent Naden, 4. Dominic Reardon, 5. Kato Ottio, 6. Jordan Turner, 7. Lachlan Croker, 8. Makahesi Makatoa, 9. Glen Buttriss, 10. Royce Hunt, 11. Yileen Gordon, 12. Scott Sorensen, 13. Sam Duggan. Interchange. 15. Mitchell Kennedy, 16. Jeff Lima, 17. Magnus Stromquist, 18. Reuben Rennie, 19. Isaac John.

Match Analysis

Reserve Grade Newcastle Knights coach Simon Woolford hopes his men will come back refreshed after a week off.

“We probably needed the week off, we have had a tough start to the year,” said Woolford.

“We lost three, then we won three and then we were on the back of losing three in a row so hopefully the guys have gone away, had a few days off ready to play the Mounties.

“They have been in the top couple of teams in the last three years so we certainly need a spike in form as a group and as individuals.”

The ISP coach has gone with a near unchanged side from Round 9.

“The last three weeks while we haven’t got results we’ve played really well in patches and we’ve let ourselves down in others,” Woolford explained.

“We are searching for that consistency, we are talking about it a lot, saying and doing all the right things at training and come game day we need to put it into practice.

“I have said it for a few weeks now, if we can get back consistency in our performances, the results will start turning our way.”

Woolford maintains last year’s runners up, who are sitting third on the ladder, will be no easy beats come Saturday.

“They are a pretty good side all round, they’ve got some big forwards, they’ve got some experience in there like Jeff Lima and Glen Buttriss is their hooker, he’s played a lot of NRL and is very experienced.

“They have got a couple of young guys, Lachlan Croker in the halves and Zac Santo at the back, he’s a very dangerous player too so they’ll be a well-balanced team.

The reserve grade coach is calling on his experienced players to step up and lead the younger pack.

“You come to expect that from your guys like Pauli Pauli, Mickey Paea, Sam Mataora, those are the guys that we need leading the way,” Woolford said.

“I am confident if they do that we’ve got a good young squad that will follow but we do need everybody turning up, knowing their role and executing well and if we do that we’re going to put ourselves in a position to get the result we’re after.”

Where it will be won

Woolford believes getting rid of lapses in concentration in defence will do the trick.

“We defend well for periods and then other periods it is just not important enough to us and we let easy tries in,” he said.

“We need to get there game day with a defensive attitude.

“We need to put it into practice especially against Mounties, they’ve got a lot of points in them and they win a lot more games than they lose so we need to be spot on.”