After a thrilling Representative Round for many of the Newcastle Knights and a week of rest for others, NYC coach Troy Pezet previewed the Newcastle Knights' Round 9 match against the Manly Sea Eagles with assistant coach Craig Sandercock.
The Club boasted 13 players in the weekend’s games with Sandercock expecting benefits to flow on from their representative experiences.
“They are all refreshed and the good thing was all our rep players got through okay,” Sandercock said.
“Everyone is raring to go. We have another big training session tomorrow and hopefully we will prepare well.”
Pezet asked Sandercock, “What’s our focus coming off the last game?”
Sandercock said, “We had a couple of issues with our defence and we’re working hard on that.
“The most important thing is controlled footy and making correct decisions under pressure and fatigue.
“We’ve been working really hard and can expect some good results this weekend.”
“Is there anyone that you’re looking for big things from this week?” Pezet probed.
“I think Tariq Sims against the Cowboys played the best he’s played for our Club. I think he’s going to improve even further,” Sandercock said.
“Even Korbin (Sims) for Fiji I thought was outstanding. He’s in a real buoyant mood at the moment.
“We are expecting all our players will lift and do the basics well then we’ll put in a good performance."
The Knights are hungry for a win against the Manly Sea Eagles but will be bracing for a tough contest at Brookvale Oval.
“Next to Newcastle, Manly is God’s Country I suppose,” Sandercock said.
“It’s a good contest there and Brookvale is similar to Leichhardt. The crowd is up close and they really give it to you.
"It’s a great place to play. The boys will hopefully look forward to it.”
It’s not only the players who are harnessing the positivity from the Represntative Round. Rick Stone returns from coaching the successful Fijian Bati in the Pacific Test.
“The coach has been really happy this week,” Sandercock said.
“There’s been a bit of a spring in his step after the week with the Fijian boys," Pezet agreed, "Has that been transferred out onto the training field?” he asked.
“He’s been singing every day. He’s really bought into that,” Sandercock said.
“As head coach, you don’t want to overreact to a win or a loss.
“Stoney has been really good and has pointed the boys out exactly in certain terms in what we need to do to improve.
“I’ve got no doubt we will.”
Sandercock is confident the break has served the side well and will allow the players to best prepare for a competitive Manly outfit.
“Manly has Jamie Lyon back and everyone knows their halves are class players. With Brett Stewart, Matt Ballin in their spine, they have it well covered,” Sandercock said.
“We know they are going to compete for 80 minutes.
“If we can compete for 80 minutes we know we’ll be there, or there about at the end of the game.
“At the end of the game we want to make our fans pretty proud that we are competing hard and doing the right things.
“Following Kurt’s big announcement this week, I’m probably expecting the boys are going to have a spring in their step come training and come game time this week,” Pezet said.
“It’s great that Kurt has made that decision and can really focus on us and this Club for the rest of the season,” Sandercock said.
“Being a champion player and champion bloke that he is, I’m sure the boys will have that effort and will try to do the best to send him off in the fashion that he deserves.”
CLICK HERE for the Round 9 team list.
Sunday May 10 – Round 9 NRL
Manly Sea Eagles v Newcastle Knights
Kick off: 2pm
Venue: Brookvale Oval