Newcastle Knights captain Kurt Gidley says the playing squad will dedicate the rest of the season to injured teammate Alex McKinnon.
Speaking after training on Thursday, Gidley said the team was deeply saddened by McKinnon's neck injury suffered against the Melbourne Storm last Monday.
While he admits it has been extremely difficult for the players to focus, the skipper insists the team are determined to perform strongly in honour of their injured teammate.
"I'd like to think that we'd play the rest of the year for him," Gidley says in reference to playing for McKinnon.
"As I say, he is a champion young fella Alex.
"He is well liked throughout the team and he loves his footy in general. He lives and breathes his footy and I know it would certainly be a tough time for him going forward with his rehab.
"But I think no one is going to get anything out of coming in here in a sombre mood, kicking stones and not moving on with the job.
"Because that's not what Alex wants.
"Alex wants a result this weekend, I'm sure and he is going to be watching from his hospital bed on Sunday afternoon and he'll want a smile on his face watching us play.
"We've just got to work hard and keep his spirit and his determination that I'm sure he would show if it was another player in his situation."
Gidley concedes the past week has been one of the toughest in his career, especially given the Club's close links to McKinnon.
"Yeah I think so, especially with Alex being a much loved teammate of ours," he says.
"It wasn't until after the game that we realised it was pretty full-on and pretty devastating.
"It rocked everyone and we are still all in a bit of shock and disbelief.
"I'm finding it hard to believe what happened until I've probably see him.
"But he (Alex) has got the full support of all us as players and I'm sure everyone from Newcastle.
"I think we've seen that this week. The Club has got plenty of emails, letters, phone calls, text messages. Even myself, I've had people who don't even know Alex text me and wish him all the best.
"All our thoughts and prayers are with him."
Asked how the side were feeling mentally given the trauma of such a horrific injury to one of their teammates, Gidley said while it has been difficult the side is focused on moving forward.
"I think everyone is still a little bit of shock at the moment, because we haven’t seen him since he left the field," he says.
"I’d imagine seeing him in person would be fairly confronting, but all our thoughts are with him and his family and we are looking forward to playing this week and playing with plenty of pride."
Gidley confirmed the playing squad had plans to visit McKinnon in the coming weeks to provide any support.
In the meantime, he says putting in the hard yards at training and on game day to make Alex proud will be their immediate focus.
"He is going to be in Melbourne, we are not too sure how long, but we are prepared to jump on a plane and go down in different groups at times," he says.
"Hopefully he can be moved to Sydney, so there will be plenty of guys car pooling down on our days off, because we know that Alex would do the same thing for us.
"He is the type of guy who goes out of his way to try and help his teammates. He always puts his teammates and other people first and that's what he gets back in return.
"He is only a young fella who is just starting his career, so it has certainly been tough for all of us involved.
"But all our thoughts are with Alex and hope for his best recovery."
Gidley praised the Club for their handling of McKinnon's injury. He also says the level of support from across the game for Alex has blown him away.
"The Club has done a great job keeping all the players informed," he says.
"Any news has been passed on to the players directly and we are getting text messages as to how Alex is going and his family and girlfriend of course.
"I think we’ve seen that this week with other players from other clubs, who probably don’t even know Alex, wishing him the best.
"There has been great support from fellow players in the NRL, clubs and from people who don’t even know Alex out there like sponsors.
"So it has been fantastic."