The NSW Cup Newcastle Knights will aim to replicate the early intensity and execution shown in Sunday’s win over the Illawarra Cutters when they face the Penrith Panthers in this weekend’s grand final.
The Knights managed a 34-10 victory in the preliminary final at Leichhardt Oval with Josh Mantellato’s hat-trick in the opening 15 minutes establishing a valuable first half lead.
“We executed well in the first 10 or 15 minutes and we blew them off the park,” Timana Tahu told teammate Nathan Ross in the sheds after the game.
Tahu reflected on the team's good spirits and camaraderie on game day.
“There was a relaxed vibe actually and heaps of fun and some laughs on the bus and in the dressing sheds,” he added.
“It was a great win and I’m happy to be part of the team that’s going to be in the grand final."
The veteran Knight has shown his versatility this season by playing in the centres as well as the back row.
“I enjoy playing both positions, it’s something that I asked (Rick) Stoney and Wayne (Bennett), to play back row this season just to open up my game a little bit,” he said.
“But…I’ll play anywhere for the team.
“That’s what I think a lot of our blokes are like that.
“It’s probably what’s good about our team, if we get told to play a position, you just go and do your job and I think that’s what’s made us successful over this season.”
For Tahu, who is set to leave the Club at season's end, a NSW Cup grand final win will be the perfect farewell after also appearing in the final two NRL games of the season.
“Hopefully we can do it again, through preparation and executing well and training as a team,” he said.
“Everything that we did all last week was perfect and I think that’s what showed in the first 15-20 minutes of today’s game.
“If we can do that, start again, recover go through our preparation through the week and train well, then we’ll worry about what happens in the grand final.”
The Knights play the Panther at Allianz Stadium this Sunday. CLICK HERE for more game detail.