As the Newcastle Knights build for undoubtedly their biggest home game of the season on Saturday against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, interim coach Danny Buderus believes mental preparation is the key to another win.
The Knights returned to Newcastle with a spring in their step after a victory in Melbourne and will be striving for a third straight win on Old Boys Day on Saturday.
“I just can’t wait (especially) with the preparation we had last week. We came up with a few different things that would hopefully work for this week,” Buderus said.
“We are going along those lines and know we have a short turn around so will have one training session.
“This week is all about mental (attitude) and applying yourself between the ears and getting into that headspace to fight again.”
Since taking the reigns in Round 21, Buderus has inspired the players with a motivational theme each game.
But this weekend’s Old Boys Day, which also coincides with the final home game for captain Kurt Gidley, is motivation enough for the red and blue.
“We have a great occasion here this weekend so don’t have to play too much on it," Buderus added.
“I think this week speaks for itself and what it’s all about.
“There’s a few milestones there and then there’s the Old Boys."
In Club tradition since 1998, past players and staff members will perform a lap of honour at Hunter Stadium before forming a guard of honour for the team running out on the field.
“You have got a lot of guys that have left a legacy at the Club that are going to be up in the stand,” he said.
“The boys know what it’s about this week and that’s the legacy and everything that’s going to be kept in our Club throughout the years."
Buderus is thrilled for former teammate and Club captain Kurt Gidley to play his last home game with the Knights on such a significant match.
“It’s a 250 game milestone and it’s all just worked out for him on the back of the win on Monday night, he know has this to look forward to,” he said.
Meanwhile, on the injury front, centre Dane Gagai suffered a high ankle sprain in Monday’s match in Melbourne and will be hoping for a return to fitness for Saturday’s game. As is Jeremy Smith, due to a hamstring injury, who was also named on Tuesday.
Forward Robbie Rochow, who is still healing a fractured arm, is unlikely to enter the mix.
“We’re dusting ourselves off after a day of travel, so we’ll have a bit more recovery and will see where they get,” Buderus said.
The interim coach believes the short turnaround aids the team’s momentum after the side’s exciting win over the Storm in Melbourne.
“It keeps the feeling going and the confidence,” he said.
“I guess if you ask them now, they can’t wait to get back out…and that’s a good thing.”