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Improvement was the buzzword at the Knights’ final training session at Wests Mayfield on Friday.

In the lead-up to Saturday’s crucial clash against the table-topping Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium, captain Kurt Gidley insists his side must lift their game across the board to beat the Dogs.

The Knights will be without prop Willie Mason (suspension) and Jeremy Smith (knee injury), but have been boosted by the return of Kade Snowden (concussion) and the inclusion of David Fa'aolgo to replace Smith who has been rested.

Gidley has no doubts his team can compete against the Bulldogs, especially if they match their enthusiasm for the entire 80 minutes.   

"We’ve obviously got a bit of improvement to do on last week, which was a disappointing home game defensively," Gidley told the media after training.

"So we need to pick up our act there.

"We looked a bit of video on ourselves and where we can improve from last week.

"There are a few things on our attack that we can sharpen up and certainly we need a big improvement.

"Every week is tough and you need to turn up each week on your best game and certainly the Dogs are very competitive team.

"They’ve got some great players and we need to turn up with a good attitude."

Gidley admits Mason will be a loss, but is confident the team can get the job done in his absence. 

He also praised Smith for battling on with his injured knee, admitting now was the perfect time for the former Test star to get a rest.

"He (Mason) is obviously an important part of our team and he has been playing some great footy, but we are confident with the team we’ve got and we are looking forward it," he says.

"Jeremy has been battling a knee injury since the trial game up in Tamworth (against Canberra).

"He is a tough guy and it has probably got to the stage where he needed a rest and he gets his chance now with the bye next week."

Gidley says the return of Snowden is a huge boost, especially for a clash against a big Bulldogs pack.

"Snowey is an important part of our pack that’s for sure," he enthuses.

"He is a big guy and we need some big guys in our pack and Snowey is reliable and he works hard and plays plenty of minutes.

"So it’s good to have him back this week."