Harold Matthews (Under 16s)
Newcastle Knights (1) v Canberra Raiders (4) on Saturday at 1:00pm at Campbelltown Stadium
The Canberra Raiders take on minor premiers the Newcastle Knights in the first round of semi-finals this Saturday at Campbelltown Stadium.
Newcastle has been the most dominant team all year, averaging an unbelievable 40 points in attack each match. As such, Raiders Coach Adam Kyle believes that the Knights will prove to be the side’s toughest assignment yet.
“We have seen a few of their results this year and they have by far been the best team all season,” Kyle said. “They have talent all over the park and work really hard for each other so it’s a great test for our boys to compete and test themselves against the minor premiers.”
The battle of the fullbacks will be a highly entertaining individual dual in this encounter.
Both Canberra custodian Nic Cotric and Newcastle ace Matthew Cooper have been among the best players in the competition this season.
Cotric has previously named as the Australian Under 15s fullback whilst Cooper has scored a plethora of tries this season with the highlight being an unbelievable six tries in Round 4.
The side which can contain the opposition fullback the most will go a long way to determining the outcome of the match.
“Their fullback Cooper is an outstanding player and has scored loads of tries this year so he will definitely be one player that we need to watch,” Kyle said.
In regards to preparation for the clash, Kyle believes that nothing much needs to change from the successful measures that they have employed all year.
“Nothing has changed too much in our preparation to be honest,” Kyle said. “We have turned up keen to make progress after last week’s game against Norths and have tried to keep building week after week in regards to developing individually and as a squad.
“The boys have been very excited this week and will be ready for their toughest challenge this season so far.”
Fortunately, scheduling by the NSWRL has worked in the Raiders’ favour with both grades set to play at the one venue.
“It’s a fantastic achievement for both the Harold Matthews and SG Ball sides to progress into the playoffs,” Kyle said. “We pride ourselves heavily on junior development and this is a sign that we are on the right path. It will be a great day for the club.”
Hopefully Kyle will be saying the same thing this time next week.
The team line-up is:
1. NICK COTRIC 2. CHRIS SHINGLES 3. SEBASTIAN KRIS 4. BAILEY SIMONSSON 5. JEDIDIAH SIMBIKEN 6. CASEY WALL 7. LACHLAN COOPER © 8. SAMUEL DOBB 9. BRADY KEEN 10. DANIEL KEIR 11. MATT LYONS 12. JOSH STUCKEY 13. JAI LYONS
14. SAM FINNEGAN 15. JAKE WALKER 16. DUSTIN LITSTER 17. JESSE ROBERTSON 18. CHARLIE REARDON 19. JAYDEN EDDY 20. JESE SMITH-SHIELDS 21. FRANCIS-SOAKAI TAI 22. MICHAEL VARDOS 23. CALLUM GREENWOOD 24. JAKE NOTARAS 25. LUKE HICKS
COACH ADAM KYLE & DAVID SMALL
SG Ball (Under 18s)
Canberra Raiders (6) v Newcastle Knights (7) on Saturday at 2:30pm at Campbelltown Stadium
The Raiders SG Ball side will look to continue their sudden-death form from the final round of the regular season when they tackle the Knights on Saturday.
Despite being placed in sixth position on the ladder, the evenness of the bottom half of the competition ladder ensured that the Green Machine faced the very real possibility of missing out on the finals altogether if they were to succumb to the North Sydney Bears.
In a thoroughly impressive display, Canberra rose to the challenge and comprehensively defeated the Bears 32-4.
With the loser of the qualifying final to be knocked out of the competition, the Raiders will look to replicate their stellar performance from Round 9.
The strength of the Raiders SG Ball side is definitely in their attack particularly that of their talented spine – fullback Jack Hickson, halves Lachlan Croker and Lachlan Lewis and hooker Zac Woolford.
Through the direction and creativity they provide the Raiders has seen the side recognised as the second best attacking team in the competition statistically.
The combination of Captain Croker and Lewis, a relative of immortal Wally Lewis, has been particularly devastating in recent weeks.
Lewis missed the start of the year with an ankle injury which he suffered before Round 1 and his silky skills have been a tremendous boost for the Raiders.
If Canberra’s underrated and hard-working forward pack is able to defend as staunchly as they can and match it with their Novocastrian counterparts, then the Raiders can take comfort in the knowledge that they are capable of scoring from anywhere on the field.
The full team line-up is:
1. JACK HICKSON 2. THOMAS CRONAN 3. CLEVELAND MCGHIE 4. KODY PARSONS 5. TRE WILLIAMS 6. LACHLAN CROKER 7. LACHLAN LEWIS 8. SIONE AFEMUI 9. ZAC WOOLFORD 10. JORDAN AIONO-FATU 11. JACK WILLIAMS 12. BEN MAGUIRE 13. KALANI GOING
14. TYRONE NATHAN 15. DAVID FUKA 16. ADAM LUCAS 17. LEON TUPUOLA 18. JIORDAN FIDOW-KELE 19. CHRIS HART 20. JESSE MARTIN 21. DAVID AFEMUI
COACH: PETER MARRAPODI