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Jarrod Mullen

As we approach Monday's crucial clash against the Storm in Melbourne, you could easily assume that the Knights would use last year's memorable semi-final win as inspiration.   

Talk to coach Wayne Bennett though and he'll tell you as much as that game was important, it's actually the Club's round 14 loss against the Storm last season that's of greater significance to his team.  

On that particular day in June, Newcastle travelled to AAMI Park without skipper Kurt Gidley yet still managed to push the Storm in a close 16-14 loss.  

At the time, Bennett said it was the turning point of the Knights' season - a fact backed up when they went on to win four of their next six matches.  

Flash forward to this Monday's match-up against the Storm and Newcastle will also be without key stars to injury in Darius Boyd and Jarrod Mullen. 

Bennett is fully aware of this and it's why he has called on his team to use last year's courageous effort in Melbourne as motivation to turn up and test the Storm on the weekend.

"We are not going down there without belief," Bennett said after training on Wednesday.

"Obviously they are a quality team Melbourne and that’s the way they’ll stay while those stars players and their coach is there.

"But we went down there last year with a depleted side and on one occasion and played some pretty fair footy.

"Kurt didn’t play, so this time we’ve got Darius and Jarrod who won’t play. 

"But the rest of them will be there, so I’m sure the players will have confidence about what they’ve got to do.

"They got confidence out of that game on the weekend. They didn’t win the game, but they know they did a lot of things better than what they did against Penrith." 

Bennett says last year's semi-final win over Melbourne is proof his side can beat the Storm, but he concedes the challenge is believing they can do it again after two losses to start 2014.  

"It (the semi-final) was important to the team," he says.

"They hadn’t won there for nine years or something, so those things become bits of issues sometimes.

"That’s not the hard part for us.

"The hard part is just making sure we are ready to play and just do our best." 

Melbourne's greatest strength has always been their ability to play for 80 minutes. It's a quality that has been displayed on countless occasions over the years.

Bennett knows his side must match the Storm in this department to get a win on Monday, especially with playmakers Boyd and Mullen on the sidelines.

"They do (grind it out)," he says.

"They are really good at it and they've built their club on that, so we know what we've got to do.

"It's just a matter of whether we can do it or not, that's the issue.

"We haven’t got those players in the team to be able to do that right now.

"We are going to have to tough it out for a little while with the real talent sitting on the bench.

"They are two players who can get that game and put it away for us and that’s the realistic part that I have to accept and we all have to accept that.

"But that didn’t stop us from competing and doing our best.

"They are not exactly where I want them to be, but the effort was there.

"So I wasn’t disappointed with their effort (against Canberra).

"A couple of individuals could have played better, of course, but collectively across the team we did a lot of things right.

"So they’ll win football game more often than they’ll lose them."

Bennett hopes that's the case on Monday night.