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Lowrie reflects on NYC season

NYC Newcastle Knights coach Todd Lowrie admits it would have been nice to go deeper into finals footy, but has credited his players for a strong season.

“In reflection, the guys did really well to finish where they did and to make the finals,” said Lowrie.

“It was a really big effort considering the players we had unavailable, compared to some of the other 20s teams in the competition who almost had their full-strength team week in, week out.

Highly influential players such as Tom Starling and Pasami Saulo moved up to Reserve Grade during the season, while Brodie Jones saw a late promotion also.

“The guys we had certainly tried their guts out and got close to the best of their ability, which as a coach, that is all you can really ask for.

“They ended up making the finals and unfortunately we didn’t go further... but it was a pretty good effort.”

The Under 20s coach felt age was never on their side.

“We are generally pretty young which is good for the future and it’s a good sign that we have a lot of good young blokes coming through... but that’s where you tell the difference in the physicality,” Lowrie explained.

“The development of those guys at 18 compared to 20 year olds is a big difference.

“Players in other teams had an extra 12-18 months of development which has a huge impact on their size and strength.”

Lowrie declared a number of his players have developed their game in leaps and bounds this season.

“Sam McIntyre was a winger last year and he came and played the whole year in the forwards and was certainly one of our best for most of the year,” commented Lowrie.

“Hayden Loughrey moved away from home and it’s his first time playing any system type football.

“He was just playing country footy and came down this year, played nearly every game for us and had a bit of a breakthrough year.

 

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“Jack Johns was one of our regulars who started the year and we weren’t quite sure he was going to play anywhere for us.

“He hadn’t played too much in the junior reps at any other clubs and he ended up coming here and being one of our leaders in the team.

“Cameron King also ended up being one of the leaders of our team.

“He was with us last year and didn’t get a whole lot of game time but he trained really hard in the off-season and ended up being one of our first picked every week.

“There were a lot of guys that have taken big steps forward in their development as hopefully professional footy players do and that’s what the Under 20s is all about.”

While next year there will be no national Under 20s competition, the Club has moved to retain their best players for a change in format next year.

“We will have a fair nucleus that will continue because we are a young team,” he said.

“There will be a few that go up (to Reserve Grade) but there will be a lot of the same faces.

“Unfortunately, we have lost a couple to other clubs which is just what happens.

“A lot of guys that played Under 18s at SG Ball this year came in and ended up being regulars in our team.

“It is a pretty big turnover in this age group but I think the core group that we’ve got will be able to keep us going strong throughout the pre-season and hopefully put us in good stead for next year.”

NYC players in 2017

Mitch Andrews – 25 appearances
Matt Cooper – 25 appearances
Hayden Loughrey – 25 appearances
Heath Gibbs – 24 appearances
Jack Johns – 24 appearances
Cameron King – 24 appearances
Sam McIntyre – 24 appearances
Zac Hosking – 23 appearances
Henry Penn – 20 appearances
Nash Birch – 18 appearances
Matt Croker – 16 appearances
Kainoa Gudgeon – 16 appearances
Eddy Tuilotolava – 16 appearances
Jayden Butterfield – 15 appearances
Pasami Saulo – 15 appearances
Viko Puliuvea – 13 appearances
Kurtis Dark – 13 appearances
Dylan Clark – 12 appearances
Tom Starling – 12 appearances
Cory Denniss – 10 appearances
Brayden Musgrove – 10 appearances
Luke Huth – 7 appearances
Brodie Jones – 7 appearances
Kyle Smith – 6 appearances
Josh Ralph – 5 appearances
Will Davies – 4 appearances
Lachlan Farr – 4 appearances
Ofa Manuofetoa – 4 appearances
Will Finau – 3 appearances
Dean Kouka-Smith – 3 appearances
Jack Cogger – 2 appearances
Keanu Dawson – 1 appearances
Tavita Fesloai – 1 appearances
Brendan O’Hagan – 1 appearances