St George Illawarra Dragons v Newcastle Knights

Date: Sunday, April 1
Location: WIN Stadium
Time: 1.45pm

Team


1. Thomas Cronan, 2. Tom Hughes, 3. Brent Naden, 4. Cory Denniss, 5. Ken Sio, 6. Christian Hazard, 7. Jack Cogger, 8. Josh King, 9. Danny Levi, 10. Junior Roqica, 11. Sam Stone, 12. Brodie Jones, 13. Luke Yates. Interchange: 14. Jack Johns, 15. Tyrone Amey, 16. Bobby Treacy, 17. Faitotoa Faitotoa, 18. Harry Van Dartel, 19. Pat Mata’utia, 20. Chris Randalll, 21. Jacob Gagai, 22. Daniel Peck, 23. Cameron King.

nib Newcastle Knights ISP coach Simon Woolford says he’s pleased to have his try scoring winger back, Tom Hughes, who returns from an ankle injury suffered in Round 1.

“We’ve really missed Tom the last couple of games, he battled through Round 1, but it was clear he wasn’t at his best, so he’s worked hard on his rehab and he’s back a little early,” explained Woolford.

The Reserve Grade squad play the opener to the NRL game this Sunday against the St George Illawarra Dragons in Wollongong.

Woolford will be looking to his forward pack this week to step up against what he believes to be a solid Dragons outfit.

“They’ve held their own, (Josh) King, (Luke) Yates, (Brodie) Jones and (Sam) Stone and they’re all up and coming players, with their best footy ahead of them ,” Woolford said.

“The first few weeks we’ve come up against much bigger packs but I really feel we’ve held our own and have been doing a really good job.

“They’ve been getting some good help from the part time guys like Tyrone Amey and Bobby Treacy so we’ve got a good mix at the moment and whatever we’re lacking in size, we can certainly make up for in effort and courage.”

The ISP coach maintains that while they’ve had a draw and a loss early so far this season, his men have been doing a lot of things right on the field.

“It’s just a matter of soldiering on and building on the combinations, improving our defence every week and we’ll get some actual improvement out of our attack,” added Woolford.

“We’ve got to keep working hard and the results will start to fall our way.”

Woolford admits the Dragons have some dangerous players they’ll have to contain on Sunday.

“The young fullback, Jai Field, there wouldn’t be anyone quicker than him and he’s someone we’ve got to do a good job on,” he stated.

“Blake Lawrie, has done really well and they’ve got Darren Nicholls in the halves who has been around forever and is a really experienced ISP player.

“They’ve got a mixture of some really good young kids coming through, and experience wise I think the teams are pretty evenly matched.

“They had their first win last week and are at home so they’ll be keen to make it two in a row.”

Woolford maintains it’s important to get some momentum early in the season.

“In the competition there are no undefeated teams so I think it’s going to be a pretty even competition and any team is capable of winning on the day,” he said.

“As long as we keep improving, I think the results will look after themselves so we’ll be looking to again improve this week.”