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ISP men have nothing to lose

With finals out of the question for the Newcastle Knights ISP side, coach Rory Kostjasyn has encouraged his men to build their craft individually.

"We want to just keep building as individuals and as a team, and everyone that is playing ISP should be aspiring to go to the next level to earn a full-time contract or hopefully one day debut or play more first grade," Kostjasyn said.

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"As a group I want us to enjoy our footy because you don't have the pressure of trying to win or make finals or make the top four, so that gives us an opportunity to play with a bit more freedom and hopefully have some fun.

"We will continue to do our best and try and win as many games as we can to finish the year."

But it doesn't come any harder than this week's clash at McDonald Jones Stadium, where the Knights will line up against table toppers the Penrith Panthers.

"They're a good side, all the Penrith teams are very strong, and they've got a few guys back who have played a lot of first grade over the last month, so it is going to be a hard game," Kostjasyn added.

"The Panthers are second best defensively in the competition but any team that is at the top of the ladder is going to be good defensively. You don't win many games if you're leaking a lot of tries."

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After a bye last week, ISP go into the game well rested.

They will however be missing a key piece to the puzzle with playmaker Nick Meaney playing his second game of NRL this week.

20s stalwart Matt Cooper moves into the no. 1 jersey.

"He had a really strong game against the Bulldogs for the 20s last week, so he's earned an opportunity to play a couple of games up here and show us how he'll go against some older heads and bigger bodies," Kostjasyn commented.

Jack Cogger and Brock Lamb will combine in the halves once again.


"First time they have played together for a pretty long time so looking forward to seeing how they combine together and hopefully they are excited to play together," he said.

Just a few games in after arriving at the Club, JJ Felise is also putting down some solid work in the forward pack.

"He's tracking nicely, he's a big strong guy, offers something a little bit different in the way he carries the footy and progresses well in the way he is defending," Kostjasyn stated.

1.Matt Cooper, 2. Tom Hughes, 3. Matt Allwood, 4. Brent Naden, 5. Thomas Cronan, 6. Jack Cogger, 7. Brock Lamb, 8. JJ Felise, 9. Chris Randall, 10. Pasami Saulo, 11. Sam Stone, 12. Brodie Jones, 13. Luke Yates. Interchange. 14. Zac Hosking, 15. Jirah Momoisea, 16. Pat Mata'utia, 17. Tyrone Amey, 18. Tori Freeman-Quay.

Saturday, July 21 – Round 19 ISP
Newcastle Knights v Penrith Panthers
ISP kick-off: 12.45pm
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium