Reserve grade Round 1 Preview

Reserve grade Round 1 Preview
Bradie Smith graduates from the Newcastle Knights’ NYC competition to reserve grade this weekend.

RESERVE GRADE ROUND 1 PREVIEW

Newcastle Knights v North Sydney Bears
Date: Sunday March 6
Kick off: 3pm
Venue: Kurri Kurri

Teams:

NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS

1. Jake Mamo, 2. Ken Tofilau, 3.Jacob Gagai, 4. Bryce Donovan, 5. Mao Uta, 6.  Danny Kerr, 7. Will Pearsall, 8. Josh King, 9. Danny Levi, 10. Tama Koopu. 11.  Bradie Smith, 12.  Tekina Vailea, 13.  Luke Yates. Interchange: 14.  Krys Freeman, 15.  Brett Jarrett, 16.  Michael Steele, 17.  Uiti Baker, 19.  Kurt Aldridge, 23.  Sam Cook.

NORTH SYDNEY BEARS

1. Michael Oldfield, 2. Tom Hughes, 3. Dane Neilsen, 4. Ed Murphy (c), 5. Bernard Gregorius, 6. Piki Rogers, 7. Eli Levido, 8. Jokatama Dokinavalu, 9. Brad Dietz, 10. Jack Siejka, 11. Tulsa Saumamao, 12. Patrice Siolo, 13. Cheyne Whitelaw. Interchange: 14. Riley Travers, 15. Clayton Williams, 16. Fred Junior Muala, 17. Winstone Asotasi.

Match analysis:

Football returns for the reserve grade Newcastle Knights on Sunday with a Round 1 home match at Kurri Kurri against the North Sydney Bears.

While the reserve grade Knights start the season as reigning premiers of the competition, 2016 has brought with it a new look side with a large portion of last year’s players using the successful year as a spring board into the NRL.

In their place comes a new wave of NRL hopefuls who have graduated from the Knights’ U20s NYC competition.

Therefore, a large number of players prepare to make their reserve grade debut on Sunday like Jacob Gagai, Bryce Donovan, Mao Uta and Bradie Smith.

“How the guys go coming out of the Under 20s into reserve grade will be important,” coach Matt Lantry said.

“To see how those guys transition from NYC will be interesting, but we have every confidence in them doing that.”

Lantry says this weekend’s Round 1 Intrust Super Premiership game will bring with it the unknown for both sides, which prompts his players to remain focused on their own performances.

“It’s always difficult in round one and it’s not like the NRL where we have a heap of video to preview their (Bears) trials,” he said.

“It’s important we concentrate on our own back yard with good individual and team performances.

“We need to stick to our principles and minimise our errors.” 

A positive, Lantry notes, is the fact the new-look team has displayed strong cohesion from the outset, which he expects will translate well on the football field.

“This group of players has really provided us with some depth,” he said.

Where it will be won:

Discipline.

“It’ll be discipline and errors, and if we can minimise those two areas, and defend well, we’ll give ourselves a chance,” he said.

“It’s an opportunity to really execute our principles across the board.”

Game day:

Entry to the game is FREE this weekend at Kurri Kurri Sportsground. There will be a number of junior rugby league games proceeding the Round 1 Intrust Super Premiership which kicks off at 3pm.

"We’d love to see plenty of red and blue support at the ground when we start our season on Sunday,” Lantry concluded.

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