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Jake Mamo vs Panthers Round 1 NYC

Imagine lugging giant tractor tyres around on a dirt track in the unrelenting summer sun?

What about being woken up at 2am in the morning and forced to run while carrying metal pipes?  

Sounds like real hard yakka doesn't it?

Well this is exactly what the Knights’ NYC squad did at the Holsworthy Army Barracks in their final training session before Christmas.

As part of the coaching staff’s plan to build resilience within the ranks, the players completed a series of military-style exercises and obstacle courses for 36 hours in total.   

Talk to any member of the Knights' Holden Cup team and they'll tell you the camp was one of the toughest things they've ever done.    

So difficult, in fact, fullback Jake Mamo believes the experience inspired his side to record a 34-22 win over defending premiers Penrith after trailing 18-0 in the first half.    

"We all did a army camp before Christmas and that was all about sticking together when things get tough," Mamo tells Knights TV.

"We showed that out there today.

"Everyone stood up and just did their individual job well and that got us over the line in the second half. We dropped a lot of ball in the first half, but we stuck together and I was really happy with our effort to stay in the game and get away with the win." 

Returning to the NYC ranks after impressing in his maiden pre-season with the NRL squad, Mamo showed his class with a hat-trick against the Panthers.

The Gosford-born flyer says he learnt plenty training alongside the likes of Kurt Gidley, James McManus and Jarrod Mullen and now wants to pass on that knowledge to his Under 20s teammates.  

"I try and bring back my experiences and what I’ve learnt up with the NRL squad this year," he says.

"So I wanted to gather the boys around and teach them a little bit.

"I’ll take a fair bit out of this win. 

"We weren’t perfect by any means, but we came away with the win.

"So there is a lot of improvement and hopefully we can get it over the other teams in the coming weeks."

Knights' coach Michael Crawley was very happy with his side's win, pinpointing their determination under adversity as the key to victory. 

"I think they showed a bit of resolve, which we’ve shown glimpses of throughout the pre-season," Crawley says.

"So hopefully we can keep building.

"We made 10 errors and gave away five penalties in the first half, but I thought our defence was really strong.

"So even though it was 18-6, we knew if we controlled the ball a little better in the second half we had a chance.

"We went the long way about it and we made plenty of errors and made it difficult for ourselves, but we showed a fair bit of resolve in the end."

Crawley nominated halves Jaelen Feeney and Jacob Gagai as two players who performed particularly well against the Panthers.

"Jaelen is a good leader for us," he says.

"The other half Jacob was really good for us as well.

"It has been a bit of a learning curve for him and he is young, but he scored a really nice try backing his ability which is really good.

"We’ve still got a lot to work on.

"We’ve got the other grand finalists next week, the Canberra Raiders, so we’re looking forward to it." 

Newcastle takes on the Raiders in the NYC at Hunter Stadium this Sunday, kick-off at 2pm.