It’s been a tough few days for the Newcastle Knights but star five-eighth Jarrod Mullen insists the playing group is fully focused on the season ahead, starting this Sunday against the Warriors in New Zealand.
In the wake of last Friday's announcement that the Hunter Sports Group will have no further role in the Knights, Mullen says the team remains determined to put aside any off-field issues in a bid to resurrect their season.
"It’s obviously sad for the club, because Nathan (Tinkler) has put a lot of money into the club and it’s disappointing," Mullen said after training on Monday.
"But it’s business as usual for us and we’ve just got to worry about our football and get back to winning games.
Mullen also believes the Club will bounce back and become bigger and better once a new ownership model is finalised.
"Once all this (ownership) stuff gets sorted out, I’m sure the Club is going to be in a better position for it," he added.
"Hopefully we can sort it out sooner rather than later and everyone can start worrying about football then.
"We’ve got a job to do over in Auckland this week and we need to get our season kick-started quick smart.
"We haven’t talked about it (ownership) at training at all to be honest.
"This is the first day we’ve come in and it was a bit of a games day to get a smile on everyone’s face again and just run around and get the footy in everyone’s hands."
Mullen admits he has faced harder times at the Club in the past, recalling his maiden season in the NRL in 2005, a year when the Knights lost 13 consecutive matches to collect the Club's first wooden spoon.
"We’ve been through a lot worse than this," he insists.
"When I first came here, we lost 13 in a row and that was back in ’05.
"The Club is definitely in a better position now.
"We’ve got great facilities here, a great coach and great players.
"So we just need to get the performances on the field now."
Mullen says his teammates can't wait to take on the Warriors on Sunday, especially after their strong effort against the Manly Sea Eagles before the bye.
"I think we can take lot of confidence out of that Manly game, even though it was a heartbreaking loss," he says.
"They have definitely got one of the strongest forward packs in the comp and I thought for most of the game we played over them.
"I thought we were unlucky not to win that game, but we didn’t and we’ve just got to move forward to next week."
Mullen, meanwhile, says he hopes coach Wayne Bennett remains at the helm in Newcastle.
"For me personally, I think it’s very important," he says.
"He has done a lot for my career and he has put a lot of confidence in me as a player.
"So I’d love to have him for a few more years, but that’s up to him and family.
"He has got his family to worry about, so we’ll wait and see what happens.”
Voice for Mining Day is back!
See the Knights run out in the special edition hi-viz mining jersey and be part of one of the biggest crowds at Hunter Stadium this season when the Knights take on West Tigers at on June 8 for Voice for Mining Day! Get your ticket here.