Captain Loughrey a loss for the Jersey Flegg Knights

Newcastle Knights v Sydney Roosters 

Date: Saturday, June 9 
Kick-off: 1.30pm 
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium 

Team 

1. Matt Cooper, 2. Justin Worley, 3. Star To'a, 4. Ofa Manuofetoa, 5. Elijah Rasiga, 6. Tex Hoy, 7. Nash Birch, 8. Matt Croker, 9. Matthew Moon, 10. Jirah Momoisea, 11. Kurtis Dark, 12. Ben Talty, 13. Tevita Alifa. Interchange. 14. Brandon Russell, 15. Will Davies, 16. Luke Huth, 17. Henry-Siriah Fuimaono. 

The top three places on the Jersey Flegg ladder are a little congested, and after a loss last week for the Newcastle Knights, they relinquished their top of the table status. 

There's been a bit of unsettling changes made to the Knights Under 20s side in the past couple of weeks, losing a list of their players to ISP. 

Their captain Hayden Loughrey is one of them, who has been rewarded for his solid season with a starting spot in the five-eighth role alongside Brock Lamb. 

Coach Todd Lowrie admits his absence has been unfortunate but knows the promotion is good for Loughrey and his progression through the ranks. 

"Hayden is doing really well this year, he is our captain, he's our halfback, so he's obviously a big loss," said Lowrie. 

"He's a good guy to have in the team and around the group but in saying that, it's a really good opportunity for him to go up a bit higher and that's what we're looking for, to try and progress guys through the grades. 

"I know ISP have had a couple of losses but he's from all reports going quite well and at our level it is a good opportunity for someone else to come in and have a game. 

"It's not great because you lose your captain, but it is good for him and it's good for other people as well." 

One talented youngster who has taken that opportunity is Star To'a, who is starting in the centres against the Sydney Roosters this weekend. 

"Star has come back in for us, he's played Under 18s and played a couple of weeks ago for us against the Bulldogs in his first game in the Under 20s," Lowrie added. 

"He played really well then and has been on school duties the last couple of weeks. 

"It's his first time being available again and has come straight back in for us." 

The bench for the Knights side isn't looking too shabby either with Australian schoolboys rep Luke Huth and experienced forward Henry-Siriah Fuimaono again adding to the squad after coming back in last week. 

"Henry has got a lot of experience, he's 20 and has played Under 20s for a couple of years now," Lowrie said. 

"Last week was his first game back and he only got limited game time, but when he was on, he went really well and it's good to have a guy like him with that much experience. 

"Huth is really good as well, so after having his first game back for a while last week, he's going to be better for the run." 

While the Knights are seemingly the ones to target in the competition this year, Lowrie admits they have been lucky in their last few wins. 

The Under 20s coach believes errors and penalties have proved costly. 

"We need to fix that up and we've been looking to fix it up," Lowrie stated. 

"We've been lucky enough in the last few weeks, we have come away with wins, but sometimes they can hide the deficiencies that we were showing. 

"We're dropping too many balls and giving away too many penalties but having a loss on the weekend, has probably highlighted that we really need to fix those things up quickly if we want to keep winning games. 

"Your defence suffers, and your attack suffers and everything else suffers so we need to just be a bit more disciplined in everything that we do." 

But being their second game at McDonald Jones Stadium this season, Lowrie's men are pumped to kick off a Club day of footy action on home soil. 

"Our guys shouldn't need any more motivation for our second game this season at McDonald Jones Stadium," he said. 

"It is a bit of a club day and the guys always get a kick out of playing at the stadium.