NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS v IPSWICH JETS
NRL State Championship
Date: Sunday, October 4
Kick off: 3.45pm
Venue: ANZ Stadium
1. Jake Mamo, 2. Honeti Tuha, 3. Kerrod Holland, 4. Joseph Tapine, 5. Ken Tofilau, 6. Carlos Tuimavave, 7. Jaelen Feeney, 8. Damian Sironen, 9. Danny Levi, 10. Sam Mataora, 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon, 12. Jacob Saifiti, 13. Clint Newton. Interchange: 14. George Ndaira, 15. Marvin Filipo, 16. Michael Steele, 17. Josh King, 18. Luke Yates, 27. Tama Koopu.
1. Carlin Anderson, 2. Marmin Barba, 3. Liam Capewell, 4. Nemani Valekapa, 5. Richard Pandia, 6. Josh Cleeland, 7. Dane Phillips, 8. Josh Seage, 9. Matt Parcell, 10. Rod Griffin, 11. Sam Martin,12. Kurt Capewell, 13. Keiron Lander (c). Interchange: 14. Landon Hayes, 15. Kurtis Lingwoodock, 16 Billy McConnachie, 22. Fakahoko Teutau.
There’s no bigger football rivalry than Queensland versus New South Wales, but one played out on one of the most prestigious occasions in Australia, the curtain raiser match to the NRL grand final, means the State Championship match against the Newcastle Knights and Ipswich Jets is sure to be a cracker.
After a gripping 20-10 win over the Wyong Roos that saw the team claim the NSW Cup premiership, coach Matt Lantry believes the Knights are capable of taking it to the next level against the winner of the Queensland Cup on Sunday.
“We are confident in our own ability and are going there to win. It’s another big game for us and another good opportunity for us to enjoy it,” Lantry said.
While the Knights face an element of the unknown coming up against their Queensland counterparts, they’ve studied the Jets' style of play and approach the match with a clear idea of what to expect from the team coached by brothers Ben and Shane Walker.
“It’s well publicised they play a different style of footy and we’re respectful of that,” he said.
“It’s worked for them up In the Queensland Cup versus the premiers.”
Lantry explains the Jets like to mix it up with high and low short kick offs and have a tendency of turning the ball back on the inside.
“If we can execute our defensive principles, we’ll be confident we can solve what they throw at us," he added.
“Then when we have the footy, again, it’s all about belief within our own system that won us the NSW Cup premiership.”
The Jets finished third on the competition ladder, and like the Knights, have built powerful momentum in the finals series.
“They have had a similar ride where they haven’t lost a game and have that momentum,” he said.
“It will be an interesting clash between the two teams and something we’re looking forward to.”
According to Lantry, one of the Knights’ main strengths lies in the side’s explosive attacking players.
“I think our backs have been one of our strong points for the majority of the year,” he said.
“They’ve helped us come out in yardage and their ability to finish off some nice movements.
“We have some real speed within our team and with guys like Honeti Tuha, Kerrod Holland and Jaelen Feeney who can score tries, they are nice to have in your team.
“But you still can’t move away from the fact your forward pack needs to lay a decent platform.
“I thought the way our forwards went on the weekend in absorbing the physicality in the middle was a good thing for us.”
It’s been a whirlwind finals series for the Knights who, after enjoying the spoils of a grand final victory, must maintain the energy and impetus to face up against an even bigger challenge.
“Mentally it will be a challenge, but they are a good young group that’s excited to play and be a part of the occasion," he said.
“I don’t think it will be an issue at all in the way of feeling sore and fatigue.
“You’d think mentally the last four weeks would have taken a toll, but yesterday they were jovial, having a laugh and have been nice and relaxed.
“They’ll be plenty of emotion being the State Championship but also with the NSW Queensland rivalry thrown in.
“We can learn some valuable lessons out of last week and want to be a bit more controlled and calm and more composed with our decision-making.
“Once the emotion is taken out of it and the boys do play footy on both sides, we should see a good entertaining game.”
Where it will be won:
“I think our defensive unit will be vitally important,” Lantry said.
“We’ve spoken about the physicality Wyong presented and how we ensured we controlled the middle third.
“I think this weekend, they will be physical but they’ll also shift the football and ask a few more questions from an attacking perspective.
“If we can stay together a defensive line consistently for 80 minutes, we will have every opportunity to then wear Ipswich down and play that grinding style that we like to play.”
The last word:
The NSW Cup Knights have already shifted focus to their upcoming match against the Ipswich Jets with speedy centre Kerrod Holland shedding light on what he expects from the upcoming clash.
“It’s hard to know because we haven’t played them throughout the year,” Holland said.
“We will do a bit of video on them and Matt will have a game plan on we will need to execute to come away with the win.”
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This article first appeared on newcastleknights.com.au