Jarrod Mullen has only been back for one match, but he is already feeling the good vibes.
In the wake of Saturday’s gutsy win over the Raiders in Canberra, Mullen says it’s the type of tough performance his team can build their season around.
Newcastle has struggled in defence in the opening rounds, having conceded 112 points in the first five weeks, but rediscovered their steel in nation's capital by restricting a potent Raiders side to just 12 points.
Mullen believes it's a standard the Knights must maintain for the rest of the year, starting this Friday night against the Brisbane Broncos at Hunter Stadium.
"To get a win down here (in Canberra) is hopefully a stepping stone in 2014 for us," Mullen said after the 26-12 win.
"The Raiders were camped on our line in that second half, but we stayed tough and kicking to the corners or out helped.
"We don’t get too many Friday night games, so it’s great to be at home against the Broncos next week and hopefully there is a big crowd out there.
"The Novocastrians love their footy, so hopefully they are all there cheering for us.”
Asked how it felt to return to the team after such a long layoff, Mullen said it felt great to be out there contributing instead of just toiling away on the training paddock.
"It’s just good to be back playing footy again," he said about his first match since tearing his hamstring in the Auckland Nines in February.
"I’ve been training for the last eight weeks and not playing on the weekend.
"It does your head in a bit, but it’s good to get back out there and get amongst the team.
"We've got real good medical staff and they’ve been working very closely with me.
"Phil (Coles) our physio has been great, so the diagnosis was probably 12 to 16 weeks so it’s good to come back and get through a full game.
"The lungs were burning, but I got through the game so that’s a positive."
Mullen can't wait to take on Brisbane on Friday night, hopefully in front of a passionate home crowd.
He says the Broncos pose a heap of threats across the park with the likes of Ben Hunt and Ben Barba, but he is looking forward to the challenge.
“He (Hunt) is a good player," he says.
“He played well against us last year at home, so he is definitely a player to watch out for.
“Benny Barba is also dangerous in any team that he plays in.
“So it’s going to be a good challenge for us Friday night at home, so it doesn’t get much better.”
FRIDAY NIGHT FOOTY RETURNS TO HUNTER STADIUM, CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS.