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They lost their first game in a while against the Bulldogs last week, but the Newcastle Knights Jersey Flegg side are still sitting two points clear at the top of the 20s table.

A usually contented coach Todd Lowrie said his men suffered from ill-discipline.

He admits they were out played and out classed.

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"We were playing against one of the best teams in the competition and we didn't hold the ball enough, didn't get through enough sets and when we did get the ball, we were too tired because we had been defending so much," Lowrie explained.

"We didn't throw too many punches at them so our discipline with and without the ball has to be a lot better this week and give ourselves a chance to be involved in the game."

The Knights haven't had any trouble with the Parramatta Eels so far this season.



A resounding 30-10 victory against them at a trial match in February before an eight-point win in Round 3.

But Lowrie is weary of Parramatta's development through the season, with a more polished outfit now on show.

"We met them early in the year when they weren't travelling all that well, it's probably taken them half a year to get going for some reason," Lowrie said.

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"When we met them in the trial and we played them the first couple of rounds of the year, for whatever reason they weren't gelling as a team, but have clicked in the last six to eight weeks and are starting to go really well.

"They'll be there when the top teams are left at the end of the year, so this continues our tough run towards the back end of the year, but we need to be a lot better than last week if we're going to be getting a win."

This Round a heavy focus will be on the Knights own game.

The 20s coach knows after last week's loss, there are certain areas his men need to fix up.

"This week it is about our focus areas and what we can do better rather than putting all our energy into the opposition," Lowrie added.

"We'll be making sure that we're doing everything right for ourselves first and foremost."

Some of Lowrie's regulars will still be serving their duty in ISP this week.

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Tex Hoy will again occupy the no. 1 jersey with Matt Cooper named on the bench for ISP, while Jirah Momoisea is also on the roster.

Handy forward Henry-Siriah Fuimaono is out with a hand injury, which see Phoenix Crossland come on to the 20s bench.

"Jirah, one of our regulars, is still playing ISP and doing a really good job," Lowrie said.

"Phoenix comes in, he has been good in the games he has played for us so far this year, on the back of an SG Ball season.

"He's a guy that has done well this year so I'm not 100 per cent sure what role he will play for us on Saturday, but he's certainly a handy guy to have in and around the team."

And with just a fraction of the season to go, Lowrie's goal is to stay firmly on top.

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"We certainly want to finish the year on top, not that that is everything, but it's certainly something that we are striving for," he added.

"We want to be making sure that we're winning as many games as we can, so we can finish the season on top and with a bit of a roll on so that we can hopefully be in good stead for September."

1.Tex Hoy, 2. Justin Worley, 3. Heath Gibbs, 4. Mitch Andrews, 5. Elijah Rasiga, 6. Nash Birch, 7. Hayden Loughrey, 8. Mat Croker, 9. Tom Starling, 10. Tevita Alifa, 11. Kurtis Dark, 12. Beau Fermor, 13. Brandon Russell. Interchange. 14. Phoenix Crossland, 15. Joe Bromage, 16. Jack Cameron, 17. Kingston Puru.

Saturday, July 28 – Round 20 Jersey Flegg
Newcastle Knights v Parramatta Eels
Kick-off: 1.30pm
Venue: Cessnock Sports Ground