Reserve Grade match preview: Semi-final

Newcastle Knights v New Zealand Warriors
Date: Sunday September 10
Venue: UOW Jubilee Oval
Kick-off: 7.05pm

Squads

Newcastle

1. Nick Meaney, 2. Tom Hughes, 3. Jacob Gagan, 4. Chanel Mata’utia, 5. Tom Cronan, 6. Jaelen Feeney, 7. Jack Cogger, 8. Mickey Paea, 9. Will Pearsall, 10. Dane Tilse, 11. Bradie Smith, 12. Braden Robson, 13. Tyrone Amey. Interchange: 14. Tom Starling, 15. Faitotoa Faitotoa 16. Pat Mata’utia, 17. Pasami Saulo, 18. Joey Morris, 19. Curtis Naughton, 20. Sam Bernstrom.

Warriors

1.Zac Santo, 2. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, 3. Matthew Allwood, 4. Junior Pauga, 5. Bureta Faraimo, 6. Mafao’aeata Hingano, 7. Mason Lino, 8. Daniel Palavi, 9. Manaia Cherrington, 10. Charlie Gubb, 11. Ofahiki Ogden, 12. Isaiah Papali’I, 13. James Bell. Interchange. 14. Jazz Tevaga, 15. Chris Satae, 16. Albert Vete, 17. Ligi Sao, 18. Toafofoa Sipley, 19. Sam Cook, 21. Semisi Fotu.

Match Analysis

While the Reserve Grade Newcastle Knights managed without a chunk of their players last week, this Sunday they’ll bulk up in the middle for their semi-final clash with the New Zealand Warriors.

"Last week we were down on troops in the middle so it is good to get Tyrone Amey and Mickey Paea back,” said ISP coach Simon Woolford.

“Mickey has got a lot of experience so that is certainly going to be beneficial to us.”

“Guys like Cameron King and Pasami (Saulo) did a really good job for us, they all did fantastic jobs for us but it is good to get a little bit of experience back.

“(Jack) Cogger back in the halves also makes a big difference to our team.”

The Knights also bolster their side with former Canberra Raiders forward Dane Tilse, who proved a beneficial inclusion last week.

“It was only 12 months ago he was playing in the Super League so he still knows his way around the footy field,” commented Woolford.

“The young guys got a lot out of having Tilse around the camp last week.

“Tilse did a really good job for us on and off the field so it is important we keep him up with us and him and Mickey (Paea) get us a good start and we’ll have some of those young guys coming off the bench to quicken the game up for us.”

Newcastle’s last encounter with the Warriors was a close battle, New Zealand just able to edge them out at the end.

“Last time we played them they scored late and kicked a goal on the sideline to draw with us,” explained the ISP coach.

“They have pretty much got the same team we played in Round 13, which was a really strong side, including their halves (Mason) Lino and (Mafao’aeata) Hingano.

“It was a long time ago; I felt we have improved as a team since then and we’re certainly going down there confident we can get a result.”

Woolford thinks his men have had a solid two months of performances.

“Some really good performances in tight losses and some really good wins,” said Woolford.

“I really do think we’ve got a little bit of momentum going into the semis and we certainly added to that on the weekend with a good win against North Sydney.

“If we play anywhere near last week as far as completing our sets, we’re going to give ourselves every possible chance.”

The late timeslot is something different to contend with.

“It is a little concern, we haven’t played a lot of night footy but we had a run during the week at around kick-off for the game,” said the Reserve Grade coach.

“The Warriors have to travel over here again and have a late game as well so we just need to make sure we are ready to play and what time we play won’t have any bearing on that.”

Where it will be won

Woolford believes completion will be the key.

“Last week we were in the high 80s as far as our completions so if we do that against the Warriors, that’s going to starve them of the footy and make them do a lot more defensive work,” explained Woolford.

“We want to play some footy too because they are a big side and we want to move them around a bit.”

Knights take on the Warriors at Kogarah Sunday night, kick-off is at 7.05pm.