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They’ve had their best start to a season since the inception of the under 20s competition in 2008 and proudly sit on top of the Holden Cup ladder, but Newcastle Knights NYC team refuse to let their early season success go to their heads.

In the wake of Sunday's 56-10 annihilation of Cronulla at Hunter Stadium, the team's fourth consecutive win, winger Bryce Donovan says it's important his side remain focused on maintaining their strong form.

Of course Donovan is rapt with their unbeaten start to the year, but he knows it's a long campaign and the team can't afford to get too carried away just yet. 

"The team is pretty happy about it, but we are not getting a big head," Donovan said post-match.

"We spoke about that after the game that there is still a lot of areas we’ve got to work on for next week."

Donovan was at his best against Cronulla on Sunday, scoring a try and kicking eight goals for a personal tally of 24 points. 

"I’m feeling pretty good after the try," he says.

"My goal kicking in the second half I didn’t strike them as good, but 8 from 10 was pretty good.

"But I’m more happy with the team's performance and how we went, it was a good win."

A big part of the Knights' success this season has been the direction of new half Jaelen Feeney. 

Donovan says the former Bulldog is one of the team's best communicators and that helps everyone perform.  

"Jaelen is just giving the team heaps of direction," he says.

"At training he is always the louder talker and we know what’s going on, because he is always telling us.

"Then the new recruits in the forwards are just big boys taking us forward and we play off the back of them."

Newcastle will look to continue their unbeaten start to the season when they take on North Queensland in Townsville next Monday. 

Donovan is expecting a tough game against the Cowboys, especially in the traditionally humid conditions north of the border. 

"We’ll just have to prepare the best we can, just like we did in Melbourne.

"It’s going to be a lot hotter up in Townsville, so hydration is going to be the key."

Coach Mick Crawley was happy with the victory over Cronulla, but much like Donovan he believes there is still plenty of room for improvement. 

“We were really good in the first half," Crawley says.

“I suppose the way it is with young players, we were a little bit scratchy in the second half and dropped a bit of ball.

“There was a period there where we didn’t play the way we wanted to, but I thought we finished off pretty well so it was a good effort all round."

Crawley often finds it hard to single out players for praise, but he admits Donovan deserves a pat on the back after his strong showing against the Sharks. 

"He has been good for us each week Bryce," he says.

"He turns most of our four point tries into six, so that makes a big difference.

"Jake hurt his calf in the second half, so we brought him off and Bryce filled in at fullback for him and did a good job."

One of the highlights of Newcastle's win over Cronulla was the return of back-rower Joe Tapine, who starred with a try in his first official match for 2014 after an off-season hernia injury.  

Crawley can't speak highly of Tapine, a player of vital importance to the Club's chances this season.

"We were lucky to get Joe Tapine back from injury," he says.

"That’s his first game since the Indigenous game, so he was a little bit out of nick there and found it hard, but he certainly made a difference to us and helped us out with his go forward.

"He brings a lot of confidence to the other players as well and I think that’s important.

"He has been around the NRL squad, so he also brings pretty good habits to the team."


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