Melbourne Storm v Newcastle Knights
Date: Saturday June 3
Venue: Sunshine Coast Stadium
Kick-off: 11am

SQUADS

Knights

1. Matt Cooper, 2. Mitch Andrews, 3. Brayden Musgrove, 4. Heath Gibbs, 5. Kainoa Gudgeon, 6. Hayden Loughrey, 7. Josh Ralph, 8. Cameron King, 9. Nash Birch, 10. Eddy Tuilotolava, 11. Jack Johns, 12. Sam McIntyre, 13. Zac Hosking. Interchange: 14. Dylan Clark, 15. Henry Penn, 16. Pasami Saulo, 17. Jayden Butterfield.

Storm

1. Cory Parker, 2. Harlan Collins, 3. Jacob Tonge, 4. Sale Finau, 5. Jesse Arthars, 6. Braydon Trindall, 7. Matt Egan, 8. Jake Ainsworth, 9. Harry Grant, 10. Clayton Dodt, 11. Beau Fermor, 12. Louis Geraghty, 13. Tevita Alifa. Interchange: 14. Jake Elmore, 15. Jaiyden Hunt, 16. Dechlan Day, 17. Jirah Momoisea, 18. Kea Pere, 19. Taumutu Afemui-Nohotima, 20. Caleb Daunt, 21. Hayden Herbert, 22. Dale Madden, 23. Jack Cornford.

MATCH ANALYSIS

NYC Newcastle Knights coach Todd Lowrie is fielding a near unchanged side against the Melbourne Storm this weekend, with the exception of big man Eddy Tuilotolava, who gets to start in the number ten jersey.

“Eddy went really well for us last week and picked up man of the match and Players’ Player,” explained Lowrie.

“He has been doing things well for a few weeks so he gets his chance to jump into the starting side.

“We had a few little changes here and there, that was mainly dictated from some guys that became available from above but generally most of our team has been pretty settled for the last month or two.

“It helps the guys form combinations and we’re really seeing that by some of the performances we are putting in.”

With the Storm Under 20s hosting the match on the Sunshine Coast, the Knights will have a bit of travelling to do before Saturday.

“The boys generally travel okay, they only had one mishap this year but I think it is a good opportunity to get away together,” explained Lowrie.

“It is only a short hour flight up there then another hour on the bus to the Sunshine Coast... it will be good to get up there this time of the year.”

Fourth on the ladder and three wins on the trot, the Knights are building momentum for a good back end of the season.

“The key in the Under 20s is being able to string a few wins together in a row, that’s what we’ve been able to do over the last month,” the NYC coach said.

“Generally if you can do that, you rocket up the table a little bit.

“There is still a lot of areas identified that they want to keep working on which is really good.”

While the Storm have only won one from their last eight matches, Lowrie saya they’ll still be effective around the park.

“Although they are based on the Sunshine Coast, they still do operate as a typical Melbourne Storm type of team,” commented Lowrie.

“They will be really good around the ruck but that is an area we’ve identified where we need to be better at so it’ll be a good test for us.

“They have got some big guys through the middle and some really good halves, pretty much all over the field.

“Although, we do have some blokes like Hayden Loughrey, he’s a natural fullback and is quite good at his supporting roles.

“We also have a lot of guys who are quite nifty around the ruck and we’ve scored a few long range tries this year.”

WHERE IT WILL BE WON

“Defence is the area we need to keep improving on,” said Lowrie.

“Our attack is generally going pretty well so that is the area the boys have really identified they need to keep working on.

“Their control around the ruck and edge defence has been really good lately and off-loads will definitely hurt us against Melbourne if we don’t control it.”