Assistant coach Craig Sandercock joined Rick Stone to discuss the Knights up-coming match against the Cronulla Sharks on Sunday at Hunter Stadium.
Trailing off a bye, the team has returned to Knights HQ full of enthusiasm and with the additional boost provided from a number of players set to re-join the side after recovering from injury.
“We have had a few injuries the last few weeks I suppose, there’s a bit of good news with our back row and Robbie Rochow?” Sandercock asked Stone.
“Robbie had a back procedure and has been working hard with his rehab and training strongly at the back end of last week,” Stone said.
“He’s been really impressive in the early parts of this week and we expect him to play and its great to have him back.
“Tyrone Roberts has been running really well. He had a syndesmosis sprain in Auckland a couple of weeks ago and didn’t play against the Raiders.
“He’s getting pretty close to a game this weekend.
"He’s trained well through the week but will need to get to the back end of the week unscathed to take his place on Saturday.”
Stone also indicated Jeremy Smith is getting closer a return to the field in the next couple of weeks.
“Jack Stockwell has been playing really well for us but has unfortunately torn his bicep and is out for the season. Who are we looking at to replace him?" Sandercock probed.
“(Chris) Houso has been named at lock this week with Jeremy Smith out,” Stone said.
“He and Robbie Rochow will share those duties a little bit. They are both seasoned campaigners as far as the middle is concerned and I think they will bring a bit of experience and consistency in the work they do.
“It’s a good balance there for us.”
For Stone, the weekend’s break was timely, especially approaching in-form opposition in the Sharks.
“We were a bit banged up last week and the bye came at a good time,” Stone said.
“There were a few boys that were carrying a few little niggles and needed a bit of a rest.
“After the weekend off they’ve come back fresh and really enthusiastic in the early part of the week.”
Moving on to Sunday’s game, Stone sees it as a clean slate after the last couple of weeks of losses.
“Everyone is really disappointed and probably to the point of being embarrassed about our last home game against the Raiders,” he said.
“Our job is a big one.
“The Sharks had a terrific win against the Roosters last time they came out.
"They are a formidable team…but we are looking forward to the challenge.”
Sandercock asked who were the opposition's danger players were.
“They have some big forwards and some skillful players," Stone said.
"Luke Lewis and Wade Graham are on the edges as well.
“At hooker there’s a great competitor in Mick Ennis.
“There are also some good young players emerging in (Jack) Bird and Valentine Holmes.
“They have plenty of talent right across the park.
“They are pretty healthy at the moment and their last game gives them some confidence, so it will be a decent game for us on Sunday.
“We need to improve and give not only ourselves but our fans some confidence in where we are going for the rest of the season.”
The team is set for the challenge.
“Hopefully everyone will turn up at 2pm on Sunday, because the boys have trained really well and are looking forward to it which is the main thing,” Sandercock concluded.
“They are a very committed Newcastle Knights.”