Newcastle Knights’ coach Rick Stone assures belief is well and truly present among his squad.
Still in the first fold of the season, the Knights know there’s ample opportunity to divert their current course.
After playing the Brisbane Broncos on Monday night at home, the Knights now hit the road to take on the New Zealand Warriors in Auckland.
“We know we have some work to do and know it’s a challenge going to New Zealand, but we’re looking forward to it,” Stone said.
“Sunday can’t come quick enough for us.
“The NRL is a tough one. We’ve won a few close ones and we’ve lost a few close one’s of late.
“You have to keep being consistent in most of your games to win those close ones.”
While the Knights meet the Warriors, who have won five matches this season and roll off back-to-back wins, they know their Round 1 victory demonstrates they have what it takes to bring their opposition undone.
“It’s always been a tough trip for us,” he added.
“We obviously got them in the first round and they are building some momentum.
“They have had a couple of close wins in their last few starts.
“They are gaining some confidence and a Warriors side with some confidence is a dangerous one.
“Every time we do the trip to the Tasman we are expecting a tough game and we are expecting the same again."
Stone maintains the Knights need to rise above the challenges presented by the absence of key squad members.
“We need to be better and more mentally stronger than that,” he said.
“We need to be able to respond to some adversity.”
After suffering a head knock in the second half of Monday night’s match against the Broncos, Kurt Gidley is on track to prove fitness for Sunday’s game.
“The head injury seems to be okay and he has passed a concussion test,” he said.
“He has a cork…so he’ll be a bit sore at the moment. He’ll be on light duties I’d suggest tomorrow and we’ll have some idea where he’s up to."
Meanwhile, Stone wished Knights’ NSW Origin representative Beau Scott all the best for Wednesday night’s series opening game at ANZ Stadium.
“Beau only knows one speed and that’s flat out generally,” he said.
While he hopes the Test forward to come through unscathed, he explained his likelihood of lining up on Sunday can only be determined after the match.
“He’s obviously a big part in the NSW Blues and is likely to play plenty of time tonight, so let’s just taken one thing at a time,” Stone said.
“He’s got to get through the game first and we’ll assess him tomorrow when he comes out of camp and we’ll see what shape he is in to see if he goes to New Zealand or not."
In other team news, Adam Clydsdale is set to make a return to the fold after sitting out the last two rounds due to a shoulder injury.
“He was probably 50/50 last week but we decided to go again with Chad (Redman),” he said.
Stone praised the 22-year-old NSW Cup pillar, who stepped up into the role.
“I was absolutely happy with Chad and how he brought some energy and vitality to our team,” he said.
“I just think the best fit for us at the moment is to get (Adam) Clydsy back.
“He’s our first choice hooker and we have to back him a bit that way. Hopefully he can do a good job for us on Sunday."
Much of the Knights’ focus will level on mental preparation in order to bounce back from Monday’s loss.
“It can be tough and it’s a tough game and generally when you’re down and your confidence is not great, it gets dented pretty easily,” Stone
“One of the things spoken about in our team meeting is that making sure we have a little process to go with our senior players to get ourselves back on track.
“You can’t look too far ahead in the game, particularly when the momentum is against you."