It’s 10am on a crisp, picture-perfect autumn morning, which marks the end of a particularly gruelling training session at Knights HQ that more resembles a pre-season fitness run.
However, the Newcastle Knights show no signs of leaving the training paddock yet.
The players are busy barreling towards their teammates’ holding tackle pads, polishing their kicks and ensuring they’re well versed in their set plays.
It’s this type of enthusiasm and determination that shows experienced head, James McManus his team is serious about righting the wrongs of the past four weeks.
“It’s good to see everyone here at the end of training doing the extras and working on all those little things,” McManus said on Thursday.
“That sort of tells me that everyone is aware of what we need to achieve and everyone needs to fix the problem and we’ll have a better crack at that this weekend.
“We have a job to do here. We are coming off the back of four losses and we are pumped to try and fix that.
“That’s where all our focus is.”
McManus guarantees the team knows where attention should fall for its Round 9 clash against the Manly Sea Eagles on Sunday.
“We’ve probably made far too many errors in the last four games and it’s cost us,” he said frankly.
“We’ve had over 50 per cent possession all year. The last four games I think we’d be averaging 12 plus errors.
“Once you make over eight errors you put yourselves in a bad position.
“Teams are too good nowadays to give them that much possession and that much ball.
“Once we get rid of those errors and we start completing the ball and getting our fair share of possession, we have the players to score points.
“We just need to hang onto the ball.
“It’s about getting to our last and kicking where we haven’t been building pressure.
“It’s often not the first set you score, it the second or third set defending on your line where you’re getting the lazy defender or poor position.
“Our defence has been pretty good and I’d say we would be ranking pretty well on the table in the points scored against.
“It’s about concentration and accountability. All those little extra things that you’re doing and the more they drill it into you, the less likely you are to make mistakes.”
The seasoned winger approaches the high-stakes game off an exceptional performance as a member of the Country Origin side that’s done favours for his hopes of State of Origin consideration.
“I didn’t do myself any harm,” he responded.
“Loz (Laurie Daley) has picked me in the last couple of years and I’ve been a part of the squad.
“He knows what I’m about and if he gives him the nod again then I’ll do another job again.
“It made for a good week particularly of f the four losses we had.
“It was probably just what a few of us needed.
“They say a break is a good a holiday and it was unreal."
While a number of his teammates may also fall into the Origin fold, the 29-year-old said the team’s major concern is in earning the two-points this weekend.
“There’s always a lot of noise about Origin at this time of the year but none of us need to be concerning ourselves with that,” he said.
“It’s about the Knights and getting us back on the right path.”