Our Gold Training under-20s head to the Sutherland shire in Sydney for the clash with the Sharks at Southern Cross Group Stadium tomorrow knowing they have to get their defensive energy and discipline back after their worst performance of the first five rounds against Brisbane last Friday night.
Ben Woolf’s team missed far too many tackles against the Broncos after their defence had been so solid, and aggressive, in the victories against Wests Tigers and Canberra Raiders in the previous fortnight.
They take on a Cronulla side that was head of the ladder before suffering a 42-24 loss to Wests Tigers last weekend to drop them to fifth place on the ladder. They are on the same competition points, six, as the Titans with three wins in the first six rounds, although the Sharks have played one game less because of their clash with Manly being postponed.
They attempt to get back in the winning way without several key players with Brian Kelly succumbing to a persistent ankle injury. He joins fullback Brayden McGrady (ankle), centre Greg Leleisiuao (ankle), Sam Swift (concussion) and Morgan Boyle (ribs) who will miss the match.
However the previously untried players who have come into the vastly changed NYC squad have been tremendous in showing their talent early in the season and Corey Manicaros, Shawn Hinton and Justin Fai, all from the bench, are excited to play at this level for the first time.
“We were pretty poor against the Broncos to be honest,” said Woolf. “We didn’t start well and the second have we got worse after we got back to 14-10, but we’ll learn from that.
“We’re still in a pretty good position at three from five though. The Sharks will be tough to beat though, they’ve been in pretty good form, so we just have to turn up.
“We’re a bit busted and have a few new faces but we have been handling that okay and exciting for some promising young players to get their opportunities and gives us enthusiasm.
“It was a knock to our pride last Friday night so hopefully we respond well against the Sharks.”
The team is: Tyronne Roberts-Davis, Brett Stratton, Phillip Sami, David Pritchard, Josh Rogers, Tye Barry, Kurt Bernard, Jordan Scott, Nathan Watts, Ethan Roberts, Jed Cartwright, Max King, Corey Manicaros, Kelepi Faukafa, Shaun Hinton, Justin Fai, Simione Fatefahi.
Kick-off is 11.45am Sunday, and the game will be telecast live by Fox Sports.