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Mick Crawley knows his NYC side has the ability to start well, they’ve just got to rediscover it.

Crawley's men dominated the opening nine weeks of the season, leading at halftime in eight of those clashes to set a strong precedent as undefeated competition leaders. 

It's an opposing record that's gone missing in recent weeks though, as the junior Knights have stumbled from first to third on the back of three consecutive losses.

A major reason behind those defeats has been the team's poor starts to matches, a fact Crawley is keen to rectify heading into Saturday's Round 14 clash against the fifth-placed Sydney Roosters at Allianz Stadium.  

"The boys are fairly disappointed, as is the coaching staff," Crawley said after his side conceded 20 points in the opening 34 minutes of their 28-22 loss to the Tigers at Hunter Stadium on Sunday.     

"But it’s a simple formula.

"If we complete in the first half, then we give ourselves a chance of winning the match in the second half. 

"But at the moment we are just giving away too many points in the first and then we can't catch teams in the second half.  

"We just need to be a little bit more determined to get through those early sets.

"It’s something that we did very well early in the season, so it’s something that I know we can do, but we just need to get back to what works for us."

Crawley insists his team is more than capable of turning around their season, a challenge that starts with proving they can match a potent Roosters side in the opening exchanges this weekend.  

"They know where they are making the mistakes, it’s just being able to get out there and do it right next week," he says. 

"The good part about footy is that you get that chance each week.

"We’ve put ourselves in a reasonably good position, so we just need to get back to what was working for us.

"That’s part of our season and that’s part of our learning and I think it will make us a better team in the end.   

"So we’ll just take the message and get out there and do it.”

Five-eighth Jacob Gagai agrees with coach Crawley's assessment of the team's slow starts, admitting it's a disappointing trend that must change against the Roosters.     

"The first half we just let them (the Tigers) off to a good start and we’ve been doing that in the last couple of weeks," Gagai says.


"We are just piggy-backing teams and giving them too many yards.

"So they’ve just been getting too much on us in the first 20 minutes. We try and comeback in the second half, but our poor starts are costing us.

"It’s obviously showed in this loss, so we’ve just got to work hard and have a good week at training and come back for the Roosters."

Newcastle's NYC team will take on the Roosters at Allianz Stadium on Saturday from 5.15pm.