Buderus prepares for Tigers
As the Newcastle Knights approach their Round 23 match against the Wests Tigers on Saturday, interim coach Danny Buderus discussed his team selection.
Buderus has opted for captain Kurt Gidley to shift into five-eighth with a number of forced changes made to last week’s team.
“It’s what’s best for the team,” Buderus said on Monday.
“At the moment Kurt’s put his hand up and just said, 'that’s the job I’ve got to do' and he will support that right edge."
Returning to the fullback position is Jake Mamo after he played with the NSW Cup last week, a strategy Buderus believes helps developing players ease into fulltime first grade duties.
“A lot goes into playing fullback, with Jake Mamo in a learning development stage,” he said.
“Getting the numbers right, communication and all those things you have to worry about.
“It’s about getting a bit of a taste and going back and learning.
“Hopefully he finishes the year off in superb form.”
Gidley’s experience at fullback is sought after, but he believes his position as five-eighth will help strengthen the team’s defence out wide.
“He (Gidley) is our best at fullback, but I also need him on that edge just to strengthen those numbers up on that right edge,” he said.
“They are coming that way with (James) Tedesco, he’s lightning there and we need to be pretty firm.”
Meanwhile, there are a number of players who were injured in Sunday’s match against the Sydney Roosters who will need to prove fitness if they are to take the field on Saturday.
“We are still waiting on some medical reports on Beau (Scott) and Chris Houston should be okay, but I’ll check on those guys later in the week,” he said.
“Tyler (Randell) is training. We’ll check on that eye later in the week, but he’s getting up to speed.
"There’s no update on Jimmy (James McManus) as yet, he’s just going through a process of getting all the right treatment and medical advice.
“At the moment that’s where he’s at and that’s just taking time.”
There’s much hanging on Saturday’s game according to the caretaker coach who is eager for the team to lift its place on the competition ladder.
“It’s an opportunity to come up against a team and have a really good crack at,” he said.
“There’s a minimal number of games left and this is an important one for sure."
Turning focus to the Round 23 opposition, a major strength is the Tigers' well-developed spine.
“I go back to the 9, 6,7 and 1 in any team and if they continually play week after week, the team is going to get better,” he said.
“All year we have not had the same 9, 6, 7, 1 and it’s really difficult.
“Not only have the Tigers got the same, they have got very good players in those positions as well.
“That’s the danger for us.”
Tedesco at fullback has been pinpointed as one to pay particular attention to.
“He’s a huge threat the way he runs off Robbie Farah and inside balls from Brooks," he added.
“They do everything at speed around that ruck so we need to be in control to negate that.”
The Knights travel south on Friday and will train in Sydney before taking on the Tigers on Saturday at Campbelltown Stadium.