Newcastle Knights v Western Suburbs Magpies

Date: Saturday, March 17
Location: Leichhardt Oval
Time: 1pm

Team


1. Thomas Cronan, 2. Harry van Dartel, 3. Brent Naden, 4. Cory Denniss, 5. Ken Sio, 6. Christian Hazard, 7. Jack Cogger, 8. Josh King, 9. Danny Levi, 10. Jacob Saifiti, 11. Sam Stone, 12. Brodie Jones, 13. Luke Yates. Interchange: 14. Jack Johns, 15. Pat Mata’utia, 16. Pasami Saulo, 17. Tyrone Amey, 18. Faitotoa Faitotoa, 19. Bobby Treacy, 20. Chris Randalll, 21. Jacob Gagai.

Newcastle Knights Reserve Grade coach Simon Woolford said he’s been forced to dramatically change his back line after a few unfortunate injuries last week.

“We lost (Nick) Meaney early in the match and the reshuffle hurt us particularly in the second half because the guys ran out of juice,” explained Woolford.

“Tom Hughes was pretty much playing on one leg at the end of the game so the more the game went on we got fatigued and we lost our way a little bit.”

Thomas Cronan has been moved to fullback to replace Nick Meaney, while Harry van Dartel will get his first chance in ISP on the wing.

“Tom Cronan played a couple of years at fullback at Under 20s for the (Canberra) Raiders so he’s more than accomplished there,” said Woolford.

“Harry van Dartel played a couple of years at Canberra and has been looking for an opportunity.

“It will be Harry’s first game for us and he has got a lot of speed, got a bit of X factor about him so we’ll be looking for Harry to do his job.

“He slots onto the wing and I expect those two guys to do a good job.”

While the Knights' forward pack has plenty of NRL experience, Woolford maintains their opponents, which were under the Wests Tigers banner last year, will be able to match that.

“They have got a lot of NRL experience in their back line… Taane Milne, David Nofoaluma, Mahe Fonua, they’re all big strong powerful outside backs so particularly when they’re coming out of their own end, we’re going to need to do a good job on them,” he said.

“We’ve got our work cut out for us, they’ve got a couple of NRL front rowers in JJ Felise and Sausao Sue and Chris McQueen, he’s played Origin in the back row.

“I’d be very surprised if they’re not one of the better teams come the end of the year so we’re going to have our work cut out for us this week, there’s no doubt about that.”

Woolford mentioned they have been working on improving their structure this week and playing a consistent 80 minutes of football.

“I have confidence in the guys coming in and if we get that little bit of improvement I think we can put in a good performance on Saturday,” said Woolford