Newcastle Knights v Parramatta Eels
Location: Maitland’s no. 1 Sportsground
Date: Saturday, February 24
1.Matt Cooper, 2. Lachlan Farr, 3. Brayden Musgrove, 4. Mitch Andrews, 5. Justin Worley, 6. Kye Hopwood, 7. Nash Birch, 8. Henry-Siriah Fuimaono, 9. Tom Starling, 10. Jirah Momoisea, 11. Kurtis Dark, 12. Beau Fermor, 13. Brandon Russell. Interchange. 14. Tex Hoy, 15. Elijah Rasiga, 16. Matt Moon, 17. Ofa Manuofetoa, 18. Tevita Alifa, 19. Jack Cameron, 20. Joe Bromage, 21. Will Davies
The Knights Under 20s side will look to record another win in their second trial match for the pre-season at Maitland on Saturday.
With a new look side heading into a new look state-based competition, Coach Todd Lowrie said he’ll be using the match against the Eels as a deciding factor on who will get what positon come Round 1.
“There are still quite a few spots that are up for grabs that I’m not sure who is going to occupy in Round 1,” admitted Lowrie.
“I’ll be looking to get quite a bit out of the trial and for the team to really stand up and show that they want to be in the starting spots for the start of the season.”
Last week was the first time the Under 20s coach really got to have a look at his side when they recorded a win against the North Sydney Bears.
“We pretty much played our whole squad and it was good to have a run around, but I’ll be looking for a fair bit more this week against Parramatta,” he said.
“There is a fair bit of the squad that I haven’t seen play yet and this week we’re narrowing our team down.
“But the new guys have caught up pretty quickly, learned what they need to learn, trained really hard and they’re itching for the season to start.”
The Under 20s coach is under no illusions that the 2017 grand finalists, who also won their first trial, will come out of the blocks hard on Saturday.
“The Eels are always very strong in their juniors so I’m not expecting anything different from this year’s squad,” commented Lowrie.
“I know they’ve got a new coach but I’m expecting them to be quite strong.
“I don’t believe you can take everything out of the trial, but you can certainly get an idea of the things you have been working on in the pre-season.
“It’s an opportunity for the guys to get another game of footy under their belts and hopefully start the year well.”
And hopefully with the fire power of last year’s regulars Matt Cooper, Brayden Musgrove and Tom Starling, who have been training with the NRL squad this pre-season, the Under 20s will have enough experience to get them across the line.
“Those guys training with the NRL squad will be good for us and hopefully they’re going to come back tough with a lot more skills they have learned over the pre-season,” he added.
The Maitland trial will see a six-game fixture on Saturday and Lowrie implores all fans to ensure they come out early to watch all Knights grades in some exciting match ups.
“Hopefully being in Maitland, people come out for the whole day and come a bit earlier to enjoy all the games,” Lowrie said.
“The players will get to enjoy going to a new facility and playing a trial game in-front of a few thousand which will be a good experience for all of them.”