Newcastle Knights five-eighth Jarrod Mullen is expecting a tough brand of football on Monday night against the North Queensland Cowboys with a re-match of Origin stars from both states.
Despite Mullen missing out on the Knights’ game against the Cowboys in Townsville in Round 5 due to his hamstring injury, he knows very well what to expect from the team.
“They are a side that likes to grind you into the ground,” he said.
“Johnathan Thurston is obviously a key there.
“Hopefully he gets roughed up in Origin and if he doesn’t play Monday night that would be ideal (smiling)."
Mullen looks forward to the return of Newcastle's Origin representatives Beau Scott (NSW) and Darius Boyd (Queensland) who will back up after Wednesday night’s second Origin game.
“Hopefully our boys go well and can back it up Monday night," he said.
“We have a pretty good record Monday night at home, so we’ll go into it with a bit of confidence."
Mullen will also relish the challenge of meeting the quality form of the Cowboys and in particular Queensland Origin rep, Thurston.
“You always like playing against great players," Mullen added.
“They bring the best out in you and you try and match their intensity.
“There’s no more competitive and intense player in the game than Thurston, so it will be a good match.”
Mullen reflected on last weekend’s loss to the Roosters and how he is again frustrated for the result to not match the team's determination.
“To go into half time full of confidence and to come out, I think we completed 40 per cent, and we didn’t get one attacking set going into their half," he admitted.
“I thought our defence was pretty good to sort of hold them off but they scored two tries off kicks.
“You just can’t win games completing at 40 per cent. It’s just not good enough.
“They’re the reigning premiers.
“You look at all the losses we’ve had in a row and we’ve been in every game.
“To come out the back of it with no result has been really frustrating.
"We know what to do and we know how to do it because we’ve got a similar team to last year and we got all the way to the game before the grand final.
“We know how to do it, we just have to put it on the field."
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.