North Sydney Bears v Newcastle Knights
Date: Sunday July 23
Venue: North Sydney Oval
1. Nick Meaney, 2. Tom Hughes, 3. Brendan Elliot, 4. Jacob Gagan, 5. Thomas Cronan, 6. Jaelen Feeney, 7. Jack Cogger, 8. Tyrone Amey, 9. Tyler Randell, 10. Jack Stockwell, 11. Sam Stone, 12. Braden Robson, 13. Bradie Smith. Interchange: 14. Will Pearsall, 15. Faitotoa Faitotoa, 16. Pat Mata’utia, 17. Pasami Saulo, 18. Bryce Donovan, 19. Curtis Naughton, 20. Sam Bernstrom.
1.Eli Levido, 2. Tautalatasi Tasi, 3. Campbell Graham, 4. Edward Murphy, 5. Abbas Miski, 6. Adam Doueihi, 7. Luke Kelly, 8. Fred Junior Mauala, 9. Bradley Deitz, 10. Dean Britt, 11. Brett Greinke, 12. Jack Gosiewski, 13. Cheyne Whitelaw. Interchange. 14. Piki Rogers, 15. Tom Freebairn, 16. Toby Rudolf, 17. Patrice Siolo.
On paper, the Reserve Grade Newcastle Knights look impressive this week, with a number of NRL regulars taking up spots.
Notably one of the Knights top tacklers, young forward Sam Stone will be playing his first game in ISP this season.
“I have been looking forward to Stoney playing a game with us at some stage,” commented ISP coach Simon Woolford.
“He has been in NRL and has been recovering from a sternum injury so this week we get to have him.
“As far as back rowers go, he is really good from an attacking point of view but he’s very smart defensively so he’s going to make our team a better one.”
Jaelen Feeney has had a rest and is back in the halves.
“He has had a couple of weeks off with a knee that has troubled him for a lot of years so he’s played pretty well at the NRL level,” explained Woolford.
“He has got a lot of attacking flare and certainly a player that can contribute some points to the team so we are looking forward to having him back as well.”
While Jack Stockwell is expected to continue his good work in the front row.
“Stocky played last week but he was crook leading into the game all week so he didn’t get to play much time, so hopefully that is behind him and we look forward to him playing some more minutes for us on the weekend,” said the Reserve Grade coach.
With equal points on the ladder, there’s not too much separating the two sides, although the Bears have one up on the Knights with a win earlier in the season.
“We played them early on when we were struggling and they beat us 30-6 at McDonald Jones Stadium but they had quite a good side that day,” said Woolford.
Woolford admits while their side has been boosted with a few inclusions this week, the contribution needs to be from his entire 17.
“On paper, we do have a good side but we need to make sure the rest of the players don’t drop their guard because we’ve got some NRL experience,” Woolford explained.
“We need 17 blokes contributing to a good performance and we’ll be making sure that is the message this week.”
“With such a poor start to the season, we can’t afford to be dropping games, we need to keep winning and to consolidate our position.
Where it will be won
Woolford will again be looking at his powerhouse forwards to step up.
“Our forwards have been doing a really good job so I’ll be looking for guys like Jack Stockwell to lead us because we have obviously lost guys like Mickey Paea and Pauli Pauli over the last two weeks,” he said.
“Tyrone Amey, Faitotoa Faitotoa, Sam Bernstrom and Pat Mata’utia, they’ve all done a good job for us in the middle so we’ll be looking for those guys to continue that.
“We have also got some really creative halves and our back three have been doing a really good job so nothing much changes for us, we’re going to stick with the formula that’s worked.”