Reserve Grade match preview: Round 18

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs v Newcastle Knights
Date: Sunday July 9
Venue: Cessnock Sports Ground
Kick off: 1.45pm

Squads

Knights

1. Nick Meaney, 2. Tom Hughes, 3. Jacob Gagan, 4. Cory Denniss, 5. Thomas Cronan, 6. Brock Lamb, 7. Jack Cogger, 8. Mickey Paea, 9. Tyler Randell, 10. Pauli Pauli, 11. Bradie Smith, 12. Braden Robson, 13. Tyrone Amey. Interchange: 14. Will Pearsall, 15. Pasami Saulo, 16. Pat Mata’utia, 17. Sam Bernstrom, 18. Faitotoa Faitotoa, 19. Bryce Donovan.

Bulldogs

1. Brad Abbey, 2. Reimis Smith, 3. Richard Kennar, 4. Brenko Lee, 5. Tyrone Phillips, 6. Josh Cleeland, 7. Lachlan Lewis, 8. Ray Moujalli, 9. Craig Garvey, 10. Renouf To’Omaga, 11. Bronson Garlick, 12. Rhyse Martin, 13. Rod Griffin, 14. Zac Woolford, 15. Lachlan Lee, 16. Siaopo Tagaloa, 17. Josh Bergamin, 19. Hayden Ashcroft, 20. Tom Carr.

Match Analysis

Two wins on the trot, the Reserve Grade Newcastle Knights are back in the top eight as they continue to build momentum towards the tail end of the year.

ISP coach Simon Woolford welcomes in two NYC regulars who will get the chance to make an impact.

“Cory (Denniss) got injured a couple of weeks ago and with Chanel (Mata’utia) going up to NRL, Cory just slots straight back in there,” said Woolford.

“Pasami (Saulo) is the future of the Cub, he’s been playing well in the 20s and again we are a bit light in the middle.

“It is a good opportunity for him to come up and see how he handles playing against men, so I am excited to watch him go.”

After their polished performance last week, Brock Lamb and Jack Cogger are named in the halves.

“I enjoyed watching those two guys play so hopefully I get them for another week and they can repeat their performance,” stated Woolford.

This week Pauli Pauli is back starting in the front row.

“Pauli is good coming off the bench for us but we thought we’d start him,” explained Woolford.

“He did a pretty good job and played quite a few minutes last week so we were happy with the way he went."

The ISP coach admits the Bulldogs are on a run of good performances and will be hard to beat on home soil.

“They have travelled along nicely and are in the top four now so obviously with Origin on, they’ll lose a couple of their players to the top grade,” said Woolford.

“They have got a couple of players that are quite dangerous with the footy.

"Josh Cleeland in the halves is one that seems to get them out of trouble a lot when he is running games, so he’s a guy we’re going to need to do a good job on.”

“They have had some guys with some NRL experience, Brad Abbey their fullback, he’s a good player and their hooker Craig Garvey has got quite a bit of NRL experience.

“They are going to be hard to beat at Belmore but we have played some decent footy ourselves for the last month.”

Where it will be won

Woolford says they just need to worry about their own game.

“The last month we have improved every week and last week was a really good win," he said.

“It is really the first comfortable win we’ve had all year so the guys are keen to get better.

“We need to make sure we get ready for an ambush down there and I think being back at Belmore, they’ll be keen to get off to a good start and we’ll have to match them early.

“If we can do that we’ve got plenty of points in us.”