In what will be the Newcastle Knights’ final game of the season against the Penrith Panthers at Pepper Stadium, interim coach Danny Buderus says the team plans to finish with intent amd energy.
Despite missing out on the two points, Buderus was happy with the application and effort in Saturday’s match at Hunter Stadium which saw the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs narrowly defeat the Knights 20-18.
“There was a lot of effort that went into that game, (especially) after a five-day turn around,” Buders told the media on Tuesday morning.
“They were right up for that Monday night game, then had to bounce back up into a fierce battle on Saturday night.
“They kept fighting, from minute one to minute 80.
“They were in there swinging away and we nearly come away with a win.
“They did that really well but they are on again and we have one more week."
Buderus believes the side has the right mindset and a sense of momentum coming into the final clash.
“This is a game on Saturday that they have to win with their body and I think the mind will be okay," he said.
“They have been up for a couple of weeks now, so it’s about getting one more job done for the last game."
Buderus was pleased to report the side came away relatively unscathed from a physical match against their top eight opponent on Saturday.
“Everyone seemed to be okay, but we’re still waiting on Jeremy Smith,” he said.
“He was sorely missed on Saturday and the work he does in and around that ruck.”
While Newcastle is out of finals contention, Buderus assured players are not lacking in focus or motivation as they strive to better their position on the competition ladder.
“Putting pressure on the players is not what I’m going to be doing thinking about the result,” he said.
“It’s about all the preparation and putting pressure on the preparation.
"If they prepare well, we will go down there in a good headspace and confident with what we’ve done in the last few weeks.
“I don’t think they’ll be any motivation that I need to add.
“Both teams will be highly motivated not to finish with the spoon.
“It’s a close competition, if we had a win on the weekend, we scoot ahead a little bit.
"We have an opportunity to finish the season on a bright note and that’s all we will be focusing on.
“Individually I’m sure guys will be challenging themselves."
The Knights embrace the seven-day turnaround after limited training sessions last week due to travel from Monday night's game in Melbourne.
“The boys bounced up mentally and it will be no different this week other than we’ll have a couple of training session,” he said.
“As a group we will be talking more about the process of their preparation and if we prepare well, we’ve got a longer turn around this week and can a bit more work.
“If we handle the week right with their preparation and how they can build up into the game, I’ll be confident they will have enough energy in their legs to get the job done."
Meanwhile, Penrith head into Saturday’s match after a Monday night loss to the Raiders with a five-day break.
“We can play on that a little bit but we have to make sure as a collective group we have enough energy to get the job done," Buderus said.
Back on last week, the biggest win of the Round 25 match for Buderus was the overwhelming show of support for the Club with the fans staying behind for a special on-field event to farewell captain Kurt Gidley and all departing players.
“They are smiling. It was a fantastic night on Saturday night without getting the result,” he said.
“The fans all turned up and said goodbye to a couple of favorite sons, the departing players.
“It was a really good night all in all, we just didn’t get the win.”