Reserve Grade match preview: Round 17
Newcastle Knights v Wests Tigers
Date: Saturday July 1
Venue: Cessnock Sports Ground
Kick off: 4.30pm
1. Nick Meaney, 2. Tom Hughes, 3. Jacob Gagan, 4. Chanel Mata’utia, 5. Thomas Cronan, 6. Jack Cogger, 7. Trent Hodkinson, 8. Mickey Paea, 9. Will Pearsall, 10. Sam Mataora, 11. Bradie Smith, 12. Sam Stone, 13. Jack Stockwell. Interchange: 14. Joey Morris, 15. Braden Robson, 16. Pat Mata’utia, 17. Pauli Pauli, 18. Faitotoa Faitotoa, 19. Bryce Donovan, 20. Tyrone Amey, 21. Sam Bernstrom.
1. Watson Heleta, 2. Ryland Jacobs, 3. Nathan Milone, 4. Veiru Mapesone, 5. Luke Garner, 6. Bayley Sironen, 7. Jack Littlejohn, 8. Junior Tatola, 9. Jack Wheelhouse, 10. Jordan Grant, 11. Jackson Williams, 12. Ashley Nisbet, 13. Darcy Cox. Interchange. 14. Jaleel Seve, 15. Wesley Lolo, 16. Pio Sokobalavu, 17. Christian Yassmin.
The Reserve Grade Newcastle Knights welcome back centre Jacob Gagan to the mix this week against the Wests Tigers.
“Gagan has had a couple of weeks on standby in the top grade so he comes back,” said coach Simon Woolford.
“He was playing some good footy before last week and defensively he was making some very good reads for us.
“He will come back and go on the right and it will give Chanel (Mata’utia) a chance to go back on the left which is his favourite side.”
Woolford will be looking for another solid performance from Chanel, who made an influential return from injury last week.
“Chanel has probably only played a few games all year so it was good to see him play and play well,” explained Woolford.
“He got through a fair bit of work for a guy that had a lot of time off and he was rewarded with a nice try at the back end of the game.
“He is only going to get better and better.”
The Reserve Grade coach will also again be expecting a stellar effort from his five-eighth.
“Jack Cogger was really good for us and had a great kicking game,” he said.
“He really did a good job on Illawarra and their most dangerous players, great defensively all game and came up with a nice try in the second half.”
Woolford knows now is a good opportunity to start stringing together a few wins to make a play for the top eight.
“We have spoken about it for a long time now, about consistency and putting back to back good performances together,” Woolford stated.
“We are getting towards the back end of the season so there is no time like the present to start playing well and with that will come results.
“We are back at home this week out at Cessnock and we’ve beaten the Mounties out there and almost beat the Warriors so we’ve played quite well and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t do the same this week.”
Where will it be won
Woolford admits continued solid work from his outside backs will get the results.
“Our outside backs have done an awesome job the last couple of weeks,” he explained.
“Their work rate coming out of their own end, they have really taken a lot of pressure off our forwards and with that has come a better defensive effort for our big guys in the middle who have a lot more energy to defend.”