For Newcastle Knights coach Rick Stone, the weekend’s Representative Round comes with plenty of benefits.
He expects those who played a part in the representative matches will return to the Club richer for the experience while the remaining squad members will face up this week fresh from the break.
“We are a bit healthier and the boys have had a bit of a rest. Some of them hopefully had a positive influence during their rep weekends,” Stone told the media at Knights HQ on Monday.
“A break after eight games is good at any time. By the time you play eight games there’s a little bit of cumulative fatigue.
“There’s also a little bit of build up with some niggling injuries.
“We need to use it wisely.
“The boys who have played, we’ll give them a couple of days off and will be back in for a recovery day on Wednesday and the full squad will be back together for Thursday for training.
“We should get some benefits from that for sure.”
After the excitement of the weekend’s action, which saw Knights represent in the Country Origin, Fijian, Samoan, Junior Kiwis and NSW Cup rep sides, the players now channel their energy into preparation for the Manly Sea Eagles on Sunday.
While Manly has had a less than ideal start to their season and sit at the bottom of the table ahead of Round 9 with just two wins, Stone acknowledges the side’s potential, especially with the possible return of key personnel.
“They are a proud club and have some good halves and are possibly about to get a few players back because they’ve had a tough period with injury,” he said.
“The break would have definitely done them the world of good.
“We’ll see who lines up against us on Sunday and will just do our best.”
After learning some tough lessons from the previous four games before the break, Stone assured the Knights have a clear idea of where to concentrate effort.
“Our focus is on being a little bit more consistent. We’ve been in and out of games in the last couple of weeks and it has cost us,” he said.
“It’s cost us two points on a couple of occasions, especially the last two occasions against Parramatta and no doubt the Cowboys where I’d suggest there were some soft tries.
“The first four weeks we defended our line with some real passion and desire and commitment and we haven’t done that well enough.
“The errors are another issue and we have to improve in that and everyone individually has to be responsible there.”
Stone was pleased to deliver a positive injury report after the weekend with the Club’s 13 representative players emerging unscathed after their respective high-energy matches.
"We had good numbers in the rep round and everyone came through pretty healthy, which is nice,” he said.
“There’s a clean bill of health for all our players.
“Carlos Tuimavave has a little bump on his knee, but apart from that, it’s really good.”
This weekend will also see the return of Knights enforcer Beau Scott, who sustained an ankle ligament injury in the Round 5 match against the St George Illawarra Dragons.
“He’ll play this week and it will be great to get Beau back. He was a big influence in our first couple of wins,” he said.
“Getting him back will be a bit of a boost for the boys.
“I think that’s where we’ll see some improvement with Beau who has had a few weeks out of footy himself.
“It’s good that he has a good long week before Sunday to get himself right.
“He’s had a good training week while the boys were playing rep footy and having a rest so he’ll be ready to go Sunday.
“He wasn’t quite ready for the last game. He started running last week and he was only 50 per cent.
Meanwhile, Jarrod Mullen, who was forced to withdraw from the Country Origin side due to an injury to his toe, has recovered and will be ready for this weekend’s match.
“He shouldn’t have any dramas,” Stone concluded.