Newcastle players have heaped praise on rookie sensation Jake Mamo after the Gosford-born flyer bravely defied a back injury to play a leading role in the Club's 29-12 loss to the Sydney Roosters on Saturday night.
Mamo has struggled with a back injury for a number of weeks now, but the 20-year-old showed enormous courage to take the field against the defending premiers and score his maiden NRL try in the process.
Forward Chris Houston was blown away by the resilience of his young winger, a kid who has played just four NRL games yet continues to show maturity, ability and toughness well beyond his tender years.
“Jake has been good for us, knowing we have that depth there for him to come up," Houston tells Knights TV.
"You definitely don’t lose anything when Jake plays, he is a quality young player.
“Jake is probably playing a bit injured, but he toughed it out for us and got a good try, so we were happy for him."
On the back of Mamo's first-half try, the Knights went to the break leading 12-6 against a strong Roosters outfit.
The men in red and blue had high hopes for the second half, but fell in a heap following a number of errors that gifted the Tri-colours points.
Houston admits the Knights paid the ultimate price for their mistakes.
"We were happy with our first half and then second half we had intentions to go out there and do the same thing," he says.
"But for the full 40 minutes we were just making errors.
"I think we defended well in patches, but when you give sides that much ball you are going to leak points.
"You can’t defend the whole half with back-to-back sets.
"It was frustrating.
"The first half was good though, so I guess we can take the positive out of that."
While there's no doubting this season has been disappointing for the entire team, Houston has urged to his side to remain focused for next Monday's Round 15 clash against the North Queensland Cowboys at Hunter Stadium.
"We’ve got a couple of days off here now just to rest up and then the week starts again," he says.
"We’ll quickly do a review on this game and Wayne will no doubt cover where we went wrong.
"We’ll need to rectify that before Monday night, because the Cowboys are a good side.
"They’ve got test props in there and Johnathan Thurston, who will no doubt back up from Origin.
"So it’s on again Monday.”
Get your TICKET now and support your Newcastle Knights when they host the Cowboys at Hunter Stadium on Monday June 23. Gates open 4.30pm for NYC to kick off at 4.45pm before NRL at 7pm.