NYC match preview: Round 24
Newcastle Knights v Melbourne Storm Thunderbolts
Date: Saturday August 19
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium
1. Matt Cooper, 2. Mitch Andrews, 3. Cory Denniss, 4. Heath Gibbs, 5. Kainoa Gudgeon, 6. Jack Johns, 7. Hayden Loughrey, 8. Cameron King, 9. Nash Birch, 10. Matt Croker, 11. Brodie Jones, 12. Sam McIntyre, 13. Zac Hosking. Interchange: 14. Luke Huth, 15. Henry Penn, 16. Eddy Tuilotolava, 17. Viko Puliuvea. 18. Will Finau, 19. Dylan Clark, 20. Jayden Butterfield, 21. Kyle Smith, 22. Kurtis Dark, 23. Ofa Manufetoa.
1.Scott Drinkwater, 2. Harlan Collins, 3. Jesse Arthars, 4. Sale Finau, 5. Will Toloi, 6. Braydon Trindall, 7. Matt Egan, 8. Jirah Momoisea, 9. Harry Grant, 10. Louis Geraghty, 11. Beau Fermor, 12. Jacob Tonge, 13. Caleb Daunt. Interchange. 14. Jake Elmore, 15. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui, 16. Dale Madden, 17. Clayton Dodt, 18. Jack Cornford, 19. Taumutu Afemui-Nohotima, 20. Kea Pere, 21. Jake Ainsworth, 22. Lachlan Foulds, 23. Augustus Rangihuna.
Handy five-eighth Jack Johns is set to return this week after a niggling injury kept him on the sidelines last round.
“Jack has still got to get through a week of training but hopefully he’s right,” said NYC Newcastle Knights coach Todd Lowrie.
“Jack is an important member of our team and he plays a pretty pivotal role.”
Also back in the side will be goal kicker Kainoa Gudgeon, who has been named on the wing.
“We are bringing Kainoa back in, he’s been playing for Souths in the local comp but he gets to come back into the team,” explained Lowrie.
“He has done a really good job for most of the year and hopefully links back up with (Heath) Gibbs because they had a good combination going at the start of the year.”
Forward Eddy Tuilotolava will get to continue his good work from the bench.
“Eddy missed quite a while with injury so if we can get him a bit of game time then hopefully he can get back to some of the form he was showing at the start of the year,” stated Lowrie.
“He was playing some really good footy at the start of the year for us before he got injured.”
Sitting in sixth place on the ladder, it will be vital for the Under 20s to register more wins for their last three matches of the season.
“We have got three to go and the next two are very important for our season,” said the NYC coach.
“If we want to keep in the charge for a berth in the semi-finals, we need to win because it’s quite a close competition.
“I think fourth to tenth is only a couple of points apart so with all those teams in that range, it will decide who makes up that bottom part of the eight.
“We are right in that mix and we’ve certainly got a chance to do that, it’s just up to us.”
Despite a win already against the Storm this season, Lowrie admits they will be a tough side to overcome.
“It was a pretty close game before but they’re a good team and even though they’re not sitting too well on the ladder, they gave us a really tough game last time and we were lucky enough to come away with the win,” commented Lowrie.
Where it will be won
“Our defence needs to be a whole lot better than it was last week,” said Lowrie.
“We were pretty ordinary but also playing the Storm and being a typical Storm outfit, our attack is going to have to be on point.
“They do put a lot of emphasis on their defence being a Storm team and they do defend well, so our attack is going to have to be good for the majority of the game if we’re going to score some points.”
NYC take on the Storm at McDonald Jones Stadium, kick-off is 10.45am on Saturday.