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Newcastle didn't beat Canterbury last round, but forward Adam Cuthbertson believes his side has taken plenty of belief from the hard fought defeat against the NRL's competition leaders. 

In the lead-up to Sunday's vital clash against Penrith at Hunter Stadium, Cuthbertson says his fellow forwards are buzzing with confidence following their strong display versus the Bulldogs.   

The men in red and blue contained the Dogs for much of the match in a performance that proved the Knights are more than capable of competing against the best.

"We definitely proved ourselves as one of the top forward packs in the comp," Cuthbertson says about the Club's close 16-12 loss against the Bulldogs in Round 8.

"Even though we lost against the Bulldogs, it created a tonne of confidence for this club and this team.

"It was a great forwards battle and it was great to be a part of actually, just slogging it out for the whole 80 minutes. 

"For the majority of the game, I did feel like we did have it over them and unfortunately a bit of execution probably cost us in the end.

"But this weekend with the long break we had, it almost feels like a fresh start for us and we can really start our season now."

It's a positive vibe Cuthbertson hopes his side can take into Sunday's match against the Panthers.

The Knights will be without forwards Willie Mason, Jeremy Smith and Korbin Sims, but Cuthbertson insists he is ready to step up.    

"I’ll try and take a bit on myself seeing as though I’m probably one of the more senior players in the forwards now," he says.

"So I’ll just try and talk to the younger guys who are coming in and really take some responsibility and push them around the field."

Cuthbertson has played off the bench for much of his career, but the Avalon Bulldogs junior has found a home in the starting side in recent weeks.

He says he has thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of starting, a responsibility he hopes to continue in the long-term.

"I’ve been really enjoying my football, especially getting a couple of starts the last couple of weeks," he says

"It’s really helped me having another goal to achieve because I’ve played off the bench a lot of my career.

"It gets pretty tough and I suppose it’s just created a lot more enthusiasm for me to prove that I can stay as a starting player and try and retain my starting spot."

Newcastle lost 30-8 the last time they played Penrith in the opening round, but Cuthbertson says his side are ready to make amends.

"It was always going to be hard to win that game when we lost our fullback, halfback and hooker, but we can learn from that," he says.  

"I’m a prop/back-rower and I played hooker for a good stint against the Panthers that day.

"I don’t mind doing it, but you’d rather not see me in there if you can.

"But we learnt a lot from that and looking off the back of that game it could have been a much better result if we didn’t have those key players out."

Cuthbertson is hoping that's the case against Penrith at Hunter Stadium on Sunday.

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