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Newcastle Knights’ lock, Jeremy Smith says the team’s defensive effort against the New Zealand Warriors shone on Saturday, and if replicated, will be invaluable in the side’s next hit out against the North Queensland Cowboys.

“I thought our try-line defence was outstanding. We worked hard during pre-season and it paid off there,” Smith told the media on Tuesday.

“There are just a couple of little things we have to work on, and I’m sure that we’ll get that right.

“You’re always a little bit rusty the first game out.”

As far as areas to polish in training, completion of sets is a priority.

“The set ends are definitely something we have to work on,” Smith said.

“Our completion is something we need to get right up there.

“We will certainly hold teams out if we can hold the ball.”

In a match that subjected the Knights’ forwards to the Warriors’ size and strength, prop Kade Snowden was a stand out according to Smith.

Snowden gained 140 metres and amassed 32 tackles during the Round 1 match.

“Some people don’t like taking that role, but Kade has taken it on himself,” he said.

“He’s going well… and if he keeps going the way he’s going he’ll have a good year.”

The team’s training focus now shifts to the round two contest against the Cowboys in North Queensland.

“We were working on a few things this morning, then tomorrow and head away up there and hopefully we can rattle their cage,” he added.

“They have a few big forwards that we will certainly try to target.

“We will just have to see how it unfolds."

An exerted effort will go into minimising the impact of decorated halfback Johnathan Thurston.

“With players like that (Thurston) you certainly need to reduce their special moments and take them out of the play and make them have shots from out of their own end rather than on your line," Smith added.