Knights prepare for strong Roosters roster
The last time they met, nib Newcastle Knights coach Nathan Brown admits the Sydney Roosters halves combination got the better of them.
“Junior (Mitchell Pearce) plays a big part in what they do and him and Luke Keary were just a little bit better than us last time we played them,” stated Brown.
“We competed very well and we were 12-6 a long way into the game and then Luke Keary and Junior got us both once and the game was over at 24-6.
“Both those players were a little too good for us at the back end of the game last time and that’s probably a bit of where we’ve been lately.
“We have got to continue to start games well, finish off our half and start our second halves a little bit better than what we have been.”
While the Roosters' halves duo will be on the radar, Brown says there’s no point focusing on one or two players too much when it comes to sides like the Roosters.
“They have got plenty of good players, plenty of international forwards and outside backs who are good players,” explained Brown.
“Whether they played Origin this year or played Origin last year, whether they are Kiwi internationals; their roster is always strong.”
The Roosters may be missing fullback Michael Gordon to a pec injury and will be without injured captain Jake Friend, but Brown said the Knights are also a little light in the middle.
“Jacob Saifiti is injured so we’re about five or six front rowers down now, so we’re getting very light in genuine front rowers,” commented the Knights coach.
“That has provided a bit of concern for us while Pauli Pauli is out with a broken foot, Anthony Tupou has a hip problem and Jack Stockwell has been coming back from injury.
“We were hopeful Jack would be fit this week but he’s probably not match fit to play first grade.
“We are going to have to do something different so there will a change there for sure and Ken Sio is nearly fit but he may need another week as well.”
Jamie Buhrer has again been named on the bench.
“Jamie starting will be a week to week thing,” said Brown.
“Coming into this year Danny (Levi) was to play a fair amount of footy off the bench and with the Rory (Kostjasyn) situation, we put that to bed before we started here.”
Flamboyant utility Nathan Ross continues to get his start in the number one jersey.
“Fullback is a tough position and while Rossy has been there the last few weeks, he still hasn’t played a lot of fullback,” claimed Brown.
“It is a hard spot to play and there’s a lot of pressure on our fullbacks.
“Rossy is just working on different things every week to get a little bit better which he generally does.”
The Knights take on the Roosters at Allianz Stadium on Friday, NYC kick off at 3.45pm before NRL at 6pm.
The NRL is also celebrating Women in League Round to acknowledge the role of women in the game and their participation at grassroots level.