Coach Rick Stone believes if the Newcastle Knights are to raise their fourth consecutive win against the Penrith Panthers on Saturday, the team will need to take their football to another level.
For the Knights, the quest for improvement has begun on the training paddock.
“The quality of the session was great and the intensity and execution was really good and I’m really happy with the boys today,” Stone said on Wednesday.
“When you are training, particularly in the middle of the week, you’ve got to have some intensity into your session.
“Playing with that sort of intensity and quality, you need to practice like that as well.
“They sort of go part and parcel.
“There’s a fine line between some injuries I suppose and getting through your training unscathed, but the quality and the intensity needs to be there for sure.”
Stone couldn’t fault the side’s display of courage and resilience in the opening trio of wins, but expects the Knights to strive for higher quality as the season progresses.
“We are showing some good qualities late in games and you judge that by your kick chase, your line speed and your little effort areas,” he said.
“They are pretty prominent for us in the last few minutes of every game.
“I thought we showed a bit of calmness and composure to execute our plays.
“The Titans win was a good reward for keeping calm and getting through the sets and putting some pressure on.”
The Panthers, who have continued last year’s solid form with two wins this season are sure to be a tough challenge for the Knights’ according to Stone.
“Penrith are a pretty physical side and played a physical game on Monday night (against the Roosters),” he said.
“I think they are a quality team from what they showed.”
After Sunday’s close win against the Titans on the Gold Coast, second rower Beau Scott, prop Kade Snowden and five-eighth Jarrod Mullen were on light duties at training on Wednesday.
“There’s a few bumps and bruises there but I think overall everyone will take their place,” he assured.
Saturday March 28 – All 3 grades at Hunter Stadium
Newcastle Knights v Penrith Panthers
Gates open: 10.30am
NSW Cup: 12.40pm
Venue: Hunter Stadium
Tickets: CLICK HERE
Hi-viz jersey: CLICK HERE