Reserve Grade match preview: Round 14

Newcastle Knights v Newtown Jets
Date: Saturday June 10
Venue: Cessnock Sports Ground
Kick off: 3pm

Squads

Knights

1. Nick Meaney, 2. Tom Hughes, 3. Brendan Elliot, 4. Jacob Gagan, 5. Thomas Cronan, 6. Will Pearsall, 7. Trent Hodkinson, 8. Mickey Paea, 9. Tom Starling, 10. Sam Mataora, 11. Braden Robson, 12. Pat Mata’utia, 13. Tyrone Amey. Interchange: 14. Joey Morris, 15. Bradie Smith, 16. Sam Bernstrom, 17. Pauli Pauli, 18. Bryce Donovan, 19. Faitotoa Faitotoa.

Jets

1.Matt Evans, 2. Edrick Lee, 3. Jordan Drew, 4. Jesse Ramien, 5. James Tuitahi, 6. Daniel Mortimer, 7. Fa’amanu Brown, 8. Kurt Dillon, 9. Kurt Kara, 10. Tepatasi Fuiava, 11. Kenny Niko, 12. Jack Williams, 13. Jayden McDonogh. Interchange. 14. Jaimin Jolliffe, 17. Saulala Houma, 18. Manaia Cherrington, 26. Leigh Higgins.

Match Analysis

Last week the Reserve Grade Newcastle Knights proved they can match it with the top teams after producing a draw against the New Zealand Warriors.

ISP coach Simon Woolford says he’d like to see that form continue this Saturday with an encounter against an evenly matched Newtown Jets.

“We had a really good win against them in Round 5,” said Woolford.

“Their team is a little bit different now and so is ours, but while we can take some confidence out of that, it does not guarantee us a win.

“It is more about getting some consistency back with our performances.”

With the Jets just above the Knights on the ladder in eighth place, Woolford admits attitude will be crucial to a win.

“We had a pretty decent performance last week so we really need to make sure we back that up heading into a bye,” explained the Reserve Grade coach.

“We need to bring the same attitude every week, it doesn’t matter who we are playing.

“We need to make sure we treat the opposition all the same and prepare the same.”

Big forward Sam Mataora will return to the starting side this week with Josh King in the NRL squad.

“Sam has had a few games back now from injury and last week was definitely the best game he’s played this year,” stated Woolford.

“It is good to see him improving so he’ll be rewarded this week, not only starting but he’ll probably see a little bit more game time this weekend.”

Woolford will also be looking for utility Braden Robson to again step up.

“Robbo is a bit of a jack-of-all-trades,” he said.

“He plays in the back row for us, he plays in the centres and when needed early in the year he was playing in the middles so a very handy player to have and pretty versatile.

“He scored a couple of important tries for us last week which were crucial so he’s been pretty consistent.”

Starting the season with the NYC squad, dummy-half Tom Starling has become a regular in the ISP side and gets his start in hooker this week.

“Tom has been going well,” Woolford said.

“Certainly what he lacks in size, he doesn’t lack in tenacity and his enthusiasm adds a lot to our team.

“We brought him off the bench last week to keep him out of the firing line early, obviously, they are a big team the (New Zealand) Warriors so he came on and did a really good job for us and we’ll probably look at using him the same way this week.”

Where it will be won

It is all in the starting minutes according to the ISP coach.

“We need to start well, when we start well we’re in the game and we win, we put in a good performance,” Woolford explained.

“The games where we start poorly, we’ve never been in them and that all comes back to our preparation.

“How we train, what we do away from training and what attitude we’re bringing to the game which can all contribute to how we start.”