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To most people at Hunter Stadium it was just another tackle, but to the Newcastle Knights it meant so much more.

Robbie Rochow’s tackle on Sharks five-eighth Todd Carney early in the second half typified the never-say-die attitude of injured teammate Alex McKinnon.

McKinnon is renowned for that type of desperation and Rochow’s effort to run down Carney and force the turnover would have made Alex extremely proud.

Coach Wayne Bennett certainly was and has called on the Knights to use their strong showing against Cronulla as inspiration moving forward.         

“Yeah I thought it did (typify Alex),” Bennett said post-match after the Club's 30-0 shutout of the Sharks.

“And I thought it epitomised Robbie’s spirit as well.

“I mean, Robbie is not one to show any emotion at all and he gave the salute there when he did it, so he knew what he’d done.

“And he knew why he’d done it.

“For him it was a magical moment I’ve got to assume that he felt inside him and pleased with what he did.”

Bennett, who wrote an emotional column on McKinnon prior to the match, says it’s now the Club and the community’s job to maintain their support for Alex.

“I just wanted everybody to know how special Alex is and what type of man he is," he says about his column on Alex in the Sunday Telegraph.

“He has a very difficult journey in front of him and I didn’t want anybody to forget him either on that journey, which we can do very easily.

“And our challenge is not today, our challenge is every day for the next two years because he’ll be challenged every day for the next two years at least.

“Until he knows what his future life holds for him, then as committed as we were today I want us to remain committed to that cause.

“Because he is going to need all our help.

“But we’ve got to all stay strong now and stay right behind Alex. That’s my message this afternoon.

“This wasn’t a one-off event here today.”  

Bennett said he was pleased with the result, but even happier with the Club and how they handled an extremley tough week. 

He reveals he spoke to the team prior to the match about how to handle all the emotion and was rapt with how they responded.   

“Of course I’m proud of the Club and the way it has conducted itself and the people that we’ve got here," he beams. 

“Emotion can be a negative or a positive thing, it depends on how you handle that.

“We talked about how to handle it, so I think they did a really great job with it as they have done all week.

“They’ve been outstanding all week and I thought today was a real credit them.”

Skipper Kurt Gidley was thrilled with the win, conceding it was a huge relief after such a difficult week. 

“Yeah that’s the way that I feel at the moment," Gidley said.

“Coming off the field relieved . . . that probably sums it up.

“But Macca (McKinnon) is with us for the rest of the year.

“He is a teammate for the rest of the year with us."

Gidley confirmed a number of players would be making the trip to visit McKinnon in hospital in Melbourne on Monday. 

"It will be an emotional day I’m sure as the first time seeing him (Alex) since last week’s game," he says.

“But he is with us for the rest of the year.

“He is our teammate, so he is going to be on our jersey and part of our spirit for the rest of the year.”