Trial match previews: Juniors

This Saturday will see a feast of footy at Maitland’s No.1 Sportsground.

There will be an action-packed schedule with six games on offer, starting off with the girls in the Tarsha Gale Cup, Under 16s, Under 18s, Jersey Flegg, Reserve Grade and finally the blockbuster NRL clash.

There’s plenty to look forward to in the Knights lower grades with our juniors already into Round 3 of their 2018 season.

Tarsha Gale Cup – 10.30am kick off

Knights v Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs

In the Knights’ first season of Tarsha Gale Cup, the girls have recorded one win and one loss.

They come up against the Bulldogs this week in the first game of the day at Maitland and will hope to make it their second win against opponents who are yet to land a win for the season.

Last year’s grand finalists will be keen to get some points on the board, but if the likes of red and blue centre Skye Pullman continues her good form, she’ll again be likely to find the line with ease having already recorded four tries in two games.

Number 15 Ciara Atherton will be taking the field for the Knights in her very first game, while it will be the first time the girls have played alongside both the Knights junior grades.

Knights Elite Pathways Manager Casey Bromilow admits the last week has been a learning curve in the Tarsha Gale squad’s preparation.

“They have been working on making sure they prepare for a game properly after last week not coming out of the blocks very well,” explained Bromilow.

“They have certainly got some potential and they’re starting to play some decent footy in terms of tip-ons, being able to shift the ball around, getting to the edges and using the quick girls.

“It’s usually the teams that hold onto the ball that win games so against the Bulldogs, they need to hold on to possession and they will be able to score points.”

Harold Matthews Cup (Under 16s) – 12pm kick off

Knights v North Sydney Bears

It’s already two from two for the Club’s Under 16s and they’ll be looking to make it three consecutive wins to top off a strong start to their 2018 campaign.

There have been a few changes this week due to injury and Tyrone Mean will also be out, away attending the NSW Indigenous Camp.

Saturday firms as a great opportunity for outside backs Noah Nailagoliva, Hayden Regan and Dean Langdon, who will all get their chance to shine in their first game for the season.

The North Sydney Bears, who recorded a loss in their first match, have come off a bye last week and will be fresh and enthusiastic to get their first points.

Coach Rory Kostjasyn maintains his squad are improving from week to week.

“I think our attitude in defence has been very good, so I’d like to see that continue and we just need to improve on our discipline and our ball handling,” he said.

“It’s a good opportunity for some of our outside backs to get a game… I look forward to seeing those guys play because they’ve trained well and prepared really well throughout pre-season.”

SG Ball Cup (Under 18s) – 1.30pm

Knights v North Sydney Bears

The Under 18s side are also looking to make it three wins in a row, taking on the Bears who have one loss and one win to their name.

Good individually and damaging with the ball, the Knights will need to contain their opponents early and fire on all cylinders to continue their strong early run in the season.

Number 13 Jaron Purcell has been doing some sound work through the middle in his last two matches and will hopefully be able to continue his consistent form, while centre Timanu Alexander has received praise for his strong start to the season following a solid pre-season with the Under 20.

Set to come off the bench, Taylor Fiu and Brock Gardner will play their first game for the season and will be looking to impress.

Coach Scott Dureau stated he’d like to see his side start this weekend’s match strongly.

“Our starts have been poor, and we have conceded some early points and managed to come back and play really well in the second half so if they can perform well early in the game, I think we could have a better chance,” Dureau said.

“We have got some young guys who are only 17 and some older guys that were there last year so they’re still trying to find their combinations, but they’ve improved and hopefully they can improve again against the Bears.”

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