The Newcastle Knights are set to host the Penrith Panthers after a quality Captain’s Run at Hunter Stadium on Friday.
“It was good to be back on the park, we haven’t had a great deal of time training at the Stadium,” Kurt Gidley said after the session.
“It’s always nice, even when there’s no one in the stadium, there’s a bit of atmosphere there and it gets you excited about tomorrow afternoon."
After kicking off the season with three wins from three, Gidley says the team is resolute on maintaining that momentum.
“We had a bit of a general chat before...and Round 1 was so important to the team to get off to a good start,” he said.
“We are here a month later and we are three from three and I think everyone has a bit more expectation this time because we’ve played some really good games and come from behind, we’ve showed plenty of character and we’ve played tough.
“We understand that and we’re all excited about the game tomorrow.
“We come up against our toughest opponent, so we’re all really pumped for it, but we need to improve in different areas of the game over the past three weeks."
Gidley doesn’t expect the Panthers to be disadvantaged by a shorter turnaround after playing the Sydney Roosters on Monday night.
“We probably had a bit of a shorter week ourselves, we gote back from the Gold Coast and have had two away games,” he said.
“But we had a really good session here today."
Gidley, who will play his first home game of the season after missing Round 1 due to hamstring tightness, has shifted between fullback and hooker this season.
“I’m enjoying that role playing at fullback,” he said.
“I finished last year at fullback and trained all off-season there, so I was excited to start as fullback, but I also really wanted Sione (Mata'utia) in the team somewhere.
“I guess it was a bit of a headache for (Rick) Stoney to work out where to put him.
“We didn’t want to leave Joey (Leilua) out or Sione out, so having him on the bench and bringing him on as fullback during the first half and me moving to hooker and giving (Adam) Clydsdale a rest is good for the team.
“I’m enjoying it, I do want to have Sione on the park so it works for everyone."
He also believes the current positional variations provides plenty of options for Stone.
“I can play halves as well if something happens in the game and Sione can play centre, wing and fullback and I can also play hooker,” Gidley said.
“If there’s any injuries or a headache for Stoney in the game I think we have it all covered.
“That role when I go from fullback into hooker I enjoy talking because I know our forwards do it tough at times.
“I think someone coming into the defensive line and being enthusiastic and talking to them encouraging them I think they appreciate it and I enjoy it."
With the Knights aiming to harness the energy from the past three wins, Gidley expects the match to be fast paced and entertaining.
“Hopefully plenty of people turn out, and even more than Round 1. Hopefully over the last three weeks they’ve seen a bit more of their Newcastle team from the past and their looking forward to it,” he concluded.
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