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Talk to NYC coach Mick Crawley and he'll tell you resilience is a major reason why the Knights sit on top of the Holden Cup ladder as the only unbeaten side after six rounds. 

The ability to excel under adversity is a trait Crawley's team has showcased in spades during the opening rounds, which is significant for a side that lacked mental toughness last season as they slumped to a 12th place finish. 

Now on the back of a solid pre-season and summer Army Camp, the Club's Under 20s are flying as solo competition leaders and proven performers when times get difficult. 

This was on display in their impressive 48-28 win over the Raiders in Canberra on Saturday, a victory achieved with just one days preparation. 

"It’s been a really tough week with a trip to Townsville on Monday, we got home late on Tuesday, a day off Wednesday, then preparation and five hours on the bus on Friday," Crawley explains.

"So it was good to get the win.

"The boys have been really strong and full credit to them.

"They are trying really hard for each other and all the accolades go to them, they’ve done really well."

Skipper Danny Levi personified this desire against Canberra with a spirited performance from dummy half with two tries and a host of big plays in defence.

Crawley was impressed with Levi's never-say-die attitude, revealing he had to take him off late in the second half because the No.9 had given everything he physically could. 

"He does that most weeks," he says.

"In the end he had no gas left and he was just dreading water, so I had to bring him off.

"But he has been really good for us."

Crawley also praised three-try hero Joe Tapine, a player who continues to prove he has the ability to play at a higher level.

"I think he carried about four or five blokes over twice for tries," he says.

"He is strong and probably a little bit above this level at the moment.

"I thought Sione Mata’utia was also really good for us, because Brenko Lee on his side is a really good player and he managed to keep him quiet which is a big job."

Crawley knows his side is playing well, but has challenged them to go to another level when they host the Brisbane Broncos at Hunter Stadium on Friday night.

"It’s a big game, especially for Harry Pondekas because it's his old club," he says.

"So all the boys are looking forward to it, especially with it being at home makes a difference.

"All their families are there and hopefully we can perform well.”

Tapine is one player keen to test himself against Brisbane.

The New Zealand-born back-rower is buzzing after his hat-trick against the Raiders and hopes to continue that form when they take on the Broncos on Friday night.   

"It feels good, because I don’t think I’ve ever scored that many tries in my life," Tapine grins.

"But it was mostly just the boys setting me and I just ran the line and put it down.

"The Broncos always field a strong team, so I'm looking forward to it."


Get your free team song CD now

A free copy of the Club's team song CD, 'Long Live the Newcastle Knights' is available now at the Hunter Sports Superstore and The Locker Room at Wests Mayfield. Click here for all the information. For a free download of the song, click here.