NYC match preview: Round 25

Newcastle Knights v Canberra Raiders
Date: Friday August 25
Venue: GIO Stadium
Kick-off: 3.45pm

Squads

Knights

1. Matt Cooper, 2. Mitch Andrews, 3. Cory Denniss, 4. Heath Gibbs, 5. Kainoa Gudgeon, 6. Jack Johns, 7. Hayden Loughrey, 8. Eddy Tuilotolava, 9. Nash Birch, 10. Matt Croker, 11. Brodie Jones, 12. Kurtis Dark, 13. Zac Hosking. Interchange: 14. Luke Huth, 15. Henry Penn, 16. Sam McIntyre, 17. Cameron King. 18. Viko Puliuvea, 19. Dylan Clark, 20. Jayden Butterfield, 21. Kyle Smith, 22. Pasami Saulo, 23. Ofa Manufetoa.

Raiders

1.Paul Roache, 2. Harry Van Dartel, 3. Sebastian Kris, 4. Mikaele Ravalawa, 5. Andre Niko, 6. Derek Hay, 7. Erin Clark, 8. Emre Guler, 9. Lachlan Cooper, 10. Fabien Paletua-Kiri, 11. Daniel Kerr, 12. Jacob Field, 13. Kye Madden. Interchange. 14. Sato Ketia-Opo, 15. Hudson Young, 16. Zac Masters, 17. Jarred Tuite, 18. William Samuel, 19. Mitchell Smith, 20. Kalani Going, 21. Matthew Scott, 22. Timoci Vatubuli, 23. Jayden Carroll.

Match Analysis

NYC Newcastle Knights coach Todd Lowrie said he will be rewarding some of his players for good performances when they clash with the Canberra Raiders on Friday.

“Certainly, this time of year we need guys who are in form and playing really well,” he said.

Eddy Tuilotolava and Kurtis Dark get their starts in the forward pack.

“Kurtis (Dark) in particular was by far our far best player on the weekend so he deserves his spot,” explained Lowrie.

Forward Brodie Jones is back in the side after being promoted to Reserve Grade last week.

“I'm pretty sure he will be back depending on a few things happening above, but he’ll hopefully come back with a bit of confidence after his first game in Reserve Grade,” Lowrie commented.

The Under 20s coach admits the next two games are critical to keep their finals hopes alive.

“We need to win at least one of them but winning two of them would be nice,” Lowrie stated.

“Going to Canberra this weekend, on the back of what happened the last two weeks, hopefully we’ll be well and truly motivated to keep our season alive.

“A trip away to Canberra might be what we need to bring the team together and bring out the best in everybody.

“If we win both of our games, then I think we’ll be okay but if we only win one, we will have to worry about that mathematics of it all.”

Lowrie admits the Raiders usually like to use their aggression.

“Historically against us in the Under 20s, they have tried to bash us around the middle of the park,” he explained.

“They try to win the ruck and are always very aggressive.

“With their last home game of the year, I don’t expect anything different and I don’t think they’re in semi-finals contention so they’ll be certain to come out and bash and barge a little bit.

“Our middles and forwards need to be up for the challenge.”

Where it will be won

With a heavy loss last week, the NYC coach has re-shuffled his forward pack and focused on defensive efforts come Friday.

“We'll see if we can get some guys there that can beat that physical challenge because that is where Canberra is really strong,” explained Lowrie.

“Our last three or four losses have been pretty heavy losses so defence is certainly an area that needs to be addressed and something the guys are not proud of at all.”

NYC take on the Raiders at GIO Stadium on Friday, kick-off is at 3.45pm.