Parramatta Eels v Newcastle Knights
Date: Friday August 11
Venue: ANZ Stadium
1. Matt Cooper, 2. Mitch Andrews, 3. Cory Denniss, 4. Heath Gibbs, 5. Ofa Manuofetoa, 6. Jack Johns, 7. Hayden Loughrey, 8. Cameron King, 9. Nash Birch, 10. Viko Puliuvea, 11. Brodie Jones, 12. Sam McIntyre, 13. Zac Hosking. Interchange: 14. Luke Huth, 15. Henry Penn, 16. Eddy Tuilotolava, 17. Matt Croker. 18. Will Finau, 19. Dylan Clark, 20. Jayden Butterfield, 21. Kyle Smith, 22. Kurtis Dark, 23. Kainoa Gudgeon.
1.Anthony Layoun, 2. Greg Leleisiuao, 3. Emosi Alamoti, 4. Noel Aukafolau, 5. Haze Dunstar, 6. Dean Matterson, 7. Dylan Brown, 8. Sean Keppie, 9. Denzal Tonise, 10. Oregon Kaufusi, 11. Dylan Clifford, 12. Salesi Faingaa, 13. Mitch Butfield. Interchange. 14. Reed Mahoney, 15. Tangi Hokai, 16. Frank Salu, 17. Nick Okladnikov, 18. Joseph Taipari, 19. Austin Dias, 20. Kamren Cryer, 21. John Fonua, 22. Ethan Parry, 23. Jye Challenor.
Back again for one week then gone again the next. Handy forward Pasami Saulo has again been called up to Reserve Grade and gets his start in the front row.
“We got him back for one week which is good but I think ISP have got a few guys still injured and Pasami is playing some good footy so he probably deserves to be there,” admitted NYC Newcastle Knights coach Todd Lowrie.
Viko Puliuvea gets bumped into the starting 13 to replace him while Eddy Tuilotolava looks to finally get his chance off the bench on his return from injury.
Named in the extended squad for a number of weeks, Lowrie confirmed he’ll be set to play his first game back in the Under 20s.
“Last week was his first week back from injury but he played for Maitland and with Pasami going up, he gets his chance to come in this week,” explained Lowrie.
The Under 20s coach knows their clash against the fifth placed Parramatta Eels this Friday is important in their run to the finals.
“It is a pretty important game for us because they are one point in front of us so if we beat them, we’ll jump them,” explainec Lowrie.
“The more you win, the less you have to worry about what everyone else is doing, so if we keep winning we’ll be well on our way to finishing as high as we can.”
With a short turnaround, the NYC side got straight down to business come Monday, switching their focus after a 66-point drubbing of the New Zealand Warriors last weekend.
“We realised that we won’t play a team like that again this year so it almost got forgotten come Monday,” said the NYC coach.
“This time of the year, it is about fine tuning everything that we do.
“We have been doing pretty well for the last couple of weeks so it’s just a bit of fine tuning and to keep improving on those things that we’ve been looking at.
Lowrie admits the Eels are a traditional kind of team that like to run the ball.
“They have got good, strong ball carriers and they’ve got a lot of skill,” he said.
“Both parts of our game will have to be on through the middle because they are nice and big and they’ve got a hell of a lot of skill through their backline so defensively it will be a big day for us.
“We all saw that we can attack last week but as long as we can stop them in defence, we are confident we can put some points on.”
Where it will be won
As Lowrie said, defence seems to be the key for victory against Parramatta.
“It has been pretty good the last few weeks and although we had a pretty rough patch there about a month ago, the boys have worked hard,” explained Lowrie.
“We will be looking to keep going with that and building on it.
“At this time of the year, it’s all about your defence and your hard work so that’s definitely something we are focusing on every week.”
The NYC Knights take on the Eels at 3.45pm kick-off at ANZ Stadium Friday.