Focus falls on improvement
It’s Tuesday morning at Knights HQ and the Newcastle Knights are out on the field working hard.
After Saturday’s trial match played in Orange, the side knows exactly where focus should fall as time ticks down to the season’s start in just under two weeks.
As a senior player, halfback Trent Hodkinson is one of the first to point out the side’s shortcomings on Saturday. He also believes there’s plenty of time to make the necessary improvements before Round 1 against the Gold Coast Titans.
“We know we are far better than what we produced out at Orange. We have to work hard as a group now and make sure we fix it,” he said after the training session.
“Better to do that as a trial than a Round 1 game.”
The Knights will focus on their defence after leaking points in the trial’s first half.
“It was very disappointing and we just gave them far too many metres and let them roll through the middle," he said about the opposition, the Canberra Raiders.
“Defensively we just didn’t turn up that first half. We can’t give Canberra, who is a quality side, that much possession and field position.
“They are going to puts points on you as everyone would in the NRL.”
The second half, which comprised of a side that featured its fair share of youth, clawed its way back on the scoreboard to come within a converted try of their opponent.
“The young guys stepped up when they got the opportunity, which was really pleasing,” he said.
“In saying that, we need to turn it around right from the word go and start on a high and on the front foot.
“It’s definitely something we’re going to work on over the next two weeks.
“It’s something we’re worked on this morning.”
“Collectively as a group we have to work on it right across the board and we need to work hard leading into Round 1.
“We’ve been going at each other at training, but the real test is going against another NRL side."
Meanwhile, the trial was a positive exploit for Hodkinson with the game heralding his returned from a wrist injury.
“I was very pleased getting 60 minutes out in my first run with the new teammates and working on combinations which was pleasing,” he said.
“I’m happy to come out of it injury free and not too sore.
“I felt good afterwards and glad all the boys got through it.
“My wrist felt fine and I didn’t think about it for one second.
“It came through really good and I was really happy with it.”