MOUNTIES V NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 20, 3.10PM, LEICHHARDT OVAL
Amongst a team littered with NRL players, Mounties have identified Newcastle's lightning quick fullback Jake Mamo as a danger man for the Knights in Sunday’s preliminary final at Leichhardt Oval.
After nine games in the NRL to finish the year, Mamo has returned to Newcastle’s NSW Cup side and his arrival, along with the likes of centre Nathan Ross and hooker Danny Levi, has seen the Novocastrians emerge as strong contenders in the fight for the premiership.
The Knights have been arguably the form team of the finals series to date thumping the Manly Sea Eagles 45-6 in the opening week of finals and then backing that up with a 44-12 victory over the Penrith Panthers a week later.
Mamo was simply sensational in the win over the Panthers crossing for a hat-trick of tries and setting up another with a brilliant chip and chase effort.
“Jake Mamo has been blessed with pure speed and talent and was outstanding against the Panthers last week,” Mounties back-rower Mitch Barnett said.
“Mamo and Newcastle’s other players like Danny Levi and Nathan Ross are all the better for the NRL experience that they’ve got this year.
“Mamo scored three tries on the weekend so we will really have to have a good kick-chase on him on Sunday and put him under a bit of pressure or else he will punish us severely.”
CLICK HERE to watch Barnett preview the preliminary final.
Mounties will head into the match as favourites given that they finished as Minor Premiers and Newcastle finished seventh on the ladder at the conclusion of the regular season however the players aren’t buying into that train of thought one iota.
“It’s a whole new ball game now,” Barnett said. “It doesn’t matter where you finished up on the ladder really. It’s do-or-die and we know that and I’m sure they know that too.
“We want to be in the Grand Final and I’m sure Newcastle has that ambition too so it will be a really close game.”
"There are no second chances at this stage of the year so finishing as Minor Premiers means nothing now,” added Joel Edwards.
“Leading into the game we’ve got to focus on what has been working well for us throughout the year. We just need to focus on what we can control and that’s our preparation and how we turn up on the day.”
CLICK HERE to watch Edwards preview the preliminary final.
Despite the difference to where both sides finished up on the ladder at the conclusion of the regular season, the results were evenly split between these two sides.
Mounties defeated the Knights 24-22 in Round 6 however Newcastle secured revenge in the second round trumping Mounties 34-22 in Round 13.
“It’s one-all with the Knights this year but they got over Penrith last weekend and we haven’t beaten the Panthers this year so that goes to show how much of a good team they are,” Barnett said.
“There’s plenty riding on the game with a grand final spot up for grabs. We can’t wait to get out there!”
CLICK HERE to read the Match Preview.
1. Jack Ahearn, 2. Stewart Mills, 3. Mitch Cronin, 4. Jeremy Hawkins, 5. Brenko Lee, 6. Josh McCrone (c), 7. Mitch Cornish, 8. Kyle O’Donnell, 9. Glen Buttriss, 10. Mark Nicholls, 11. Patrick Mago, 12. Mitch Barnett, 13. Joel Edwards.
Bench: 14. Rhys Kennedy, 15. Jeff Lynch, 16. Sam Duggan, 17. Clay Priest, 18. Pat Mataele.
1. Jake Mamo, 2. Honeti Tuha, 3. Kerrod Holland, 4. Nathan Ross, 5. Ken Tofilau, 6. Carlos Tuimavave, 7. Jaelen Feeney, 8. Damian Sironen, 9. Danny Levi, 10. Sam Mataora, 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon, 12. Joseph Tapine, 13. Clint Newton.
Bench: 14. George Ndaira, 15. Luke Yates, 16. Michael Steele, 17. Josh King, 18. Marvin Filipo, 27. Tama Koopu.