Newcastle Knights v North Sydney Bears
Date: Sunday September 3
Venue: UOW Jubilee Oval
1. Nick Meaney, 2. Tom Hughes, 3. Brendan Elliot, 4. Jacob Gagan, 5. Chanel Mata’utia, 6. Jaelen Feeney, 7. Will Pearsall, 8. Sam Bernstrom, 9. Tom Starling, 10. Pasami Saulo, 11. Brodie Jones, 12. Braden Robson, 13. Bradie Smith. Interchange: 14. Faitotoa Faitotoa, 15. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown 16. Pat Mata’utia, 17. Tom Cronan, 18. Joey Morris.
1.Eli Levido, 2. Tautalatasi Tasi, 3. Sitiveni Moceidreke, 4. Edward Murphy, 5. Abbas Miski, 6. Adam Doueihi, 7. Luke Kelly, 8. Jason Clark, 9. Bradley Deitz, 10. Fred Mauala, 11. Anthony Cherrington, 12. Piki Rogers, 13. Cheyne Whitelaw. Interchange. 14. Thomas Freebairn, 15. Toby Rudolf, 16. Patrice Siolo, 17. Clayton Williams.
It's do-or-die for the Reserve Grade Newcastle Knights as they come up against the North Sydney Bears in their elimination final at Kogarah on Sunday.
Last time they met in Round 20, the Bears got the upper hand, but the Rabbitohs feeder team only hit the lead in the final minutes of the match.
“We gave away a penalty with a minute to go and they kicked the penalty goal at full time,” said ISP coach Simon Woolford.
“We didn’t even have time to kick once we got the ball back so we know we’re not too far away from them.
“We played pretty well against them in patches so we’ll take some things out of that.
“It's only a few weeks ago so it will be fresh in their minds and what worked well for us.
“Hopefully we can come up with the right plan and the boys can execute it and we can get through week one of finals.”
With first grade suffering several injuries, Woolford admits it has forced a number of changes to his side.
Tyrone Amey has been promoted this week in what will be his debut NRL appearance, while Jack Cogger and Mickey Paea also remain in NRL.
“We have been battered around with injuries to the top grade but it gives some young blokes an opportunity and I have got full faith that they can get the job done,” commented Woolford.
Although, they welcome back the competition's leading try scorer Tom Hughes from injury.
“Tom has been one of our best and most consistent through the year,” added the Reserve Grade coach.
“We certainly missed him the last week or two and he’ll slot straight back in there.”
Woolford said the Bears have some handy forwards which will be difficult to combat.
“Their forwards have some NRL experience and we’re going to have to do a good job on them,” Woolford explained.
“We have a lot of speed out wide, our back line is pretty good and we’re similar to the North Sydney forwards.
“We have got blokes like Nick Meaney coming in and he has shown what he can do this year and Jaelen (Feeney) and Will (Pearsall) in the halves doing a good job together so our backs are really capable of scoring some points.
“It will be a matter of making sure we do the hard work first and stay with North Sydney.”
Where it will be won
Defence will be a big part of getting ahead according to Woolford.
“We need to defend well because the last couple of weeks we haven’t done that,” he said.
“With some new faces that haven’t played a lot of footy in this team, we need to simplify things as far as our attack goes and defend well for long periods.”
Reserve Grade play their Elimination Final at Kogarah on Sunday against the North Sydney Bears.