Reserve Grade match preview: Round 24
Newcastle Knights v Wentworthville Magpies
Date: Saturday August 19
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium
1. Nick Meaney, 2. Tom Cronan, 3. Brendan Elliot, 4. Jacob Gagan, 5. Chanel Mata’utia, 6. Jaelen Feeney, 7. Jack Cogger, 8. Mickey Paea, 9. Will Pearsall, 10. Pasami Saulo, 11. Bradie Smith, 12. Braden Robson, 13. Tyrone Amey. Interchange: 14. Tom Starling, 15. Faitotoa Faitotoa, 16. Pat Mata’utia, 17. Sam Bernstrom, 18. Joey Morris, 19. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown.
1.Will Smith, 2. Josh Hoffman, 3. Nathan Davis, 4. Dane Aukafolau, 5. George Jennings, 6. Troy Dargan, 7. Jeff Robson, 8. Magnus Stromquist, 9. Cody Nelson, 10. David Gower, 11. John Folau, 25. Frank Pritchard, 13. Marata Niukore. Interchange. 14. Matt Woods, 15. Honeti Tuha, 16. Joseph Ualesi, 23. Willis Meehan, 18. Scott Schulte.
The Reserve Grade Newcastle Knights will be without try-scoring machine Tom Hughes this weekend following an injury, but ISP coach Simon Woolford expects Tom Cronan to easily slip back into the wing position.
“Tom Cronan was unlucky to miss out last week, it was just a matter of Chanel (Mata’utia) and Brendan Elliot dropping back from NRL,” explained Woolford.
“Tom Cronan and Tom Hughes have been two of our better performers over the last couple of months so while we’ll miss Tom Hughes, Tom Cronan will step straight back in.
“Hopefully he’ll play the consistent footy that he has been playing for us since he arrived.”
Promoted from NYC, Pasami Saulo has again been given the nod in the number 10 jersey.
“Pasami is still young and he’s still learning his trade but he’s a big body for us and we’re lacking that at the moment,” commented Woolford.
“Pasami and Mickey Paea get us off to a good start and we have got some blokes coming off the bench like Pat (Mata’utia) and Faitotoa (Faitotoa) who can speed the game up for us so we hope Mickey and Pasami can hold their own again this week.”
This weekend is a very important match for the ISP side with a win against the Magpies on Saturday guaranteeing them a spot to play finals footy.
“If we win this game, we are in (finals footy), it is as simple as that,” said the ISP coach.
“Wentworthville with only one round to go, they’ll be three points behind if we win.
“If we win, we won’t have to worry about A winning and B relying on another result in the last round.
“It is an important game, we know that and we’ve obviously spoken about it this week.
“We are at home so there’s plenty of reasons for us to play well.”
Woolford admits a win against them earlier in the season is a confidence booster for Saturday’s clash.
“That was our first win and we were down and out in that game and we scored two tries in a row to snatch the victory,” said Woolford.
“They have got some handy players, some NRL standard players in their team so they’re going to be desperate just like we are.
“It should be an interesting battle.”
Where it will be won
The Reserve Grade coach believes matching Wenty physically will be the key.
“They are quite a big team so like last week they’re probably a bigger team than we are,” Woolford explained.
“We need to match them physically early and we’ll come up with some ideas to encounter their big guys but at the end of the day we need to start the game well and like I say every week if we do that, we can come home with some points.”
ISP will take on the Magpies back home this Saturday, kick-off is 12.40pm.