Newcastle Knights coach Nathan Brown has placed plenty of confidence in the NRL rookies named to play the season opening match against the Gold Coast Titans this weekend.
He believes with the enthusiasm of youth coupled with the experience of the team’s senior group, the Knights are well prepared to start season 2016 on a positive note.
While reviewing the opposition has played a small part in the Knights’ preparation, focus will predominantly fall on ensuring their own processes are in check.
"We’ve watched the game on tape against South Sydney and you get an idea of the things they want to put in play and where they are trying to head with attack and defence,” he said about the Titans' trial match.
“For us at the moment…it’s more about us and getting into our systems and what we want to do right.
“Before we worry about too many other teams, we just have to really worry about focusing hard on what each individual’s job is and what the group’s job is.
“If we get that right, we’ll give ourselves a far better chance.
“I don’t think any side is going to be perfect in Round 1. Hopefully we get our commitment right and get some relative consistency. That will be the key for us.”
“From when we got here as a coaching staff, we made it quite clear the team would be picked on form,” Brown explained.
“I’m not too worried about the age of people.
“We also made it quite clear we have a lot of older people go and have replaced them with rookies so there’s no good not having confidence in them.
“They have all trained well and all the guys we’ve put in had some really good parts of their game against Canberra. But they also all had parts where they want to get a little bit better.
“The only way they will get better is by playing and training and that’s what we intend to do."
Brown has clear expectations of Knights’ debutants when they run out in the red and blue jersey for the first time in the NRL.
“They are going to have some errors, but one of those errors can’t be commitment," he said.
“They have to compete hard and get themselves in the right positions to do their job they are supposed to do for their teammates.
“They’ll have some little ups and downs, that’s what young people do, but we’ll deal with that when that happens.
“As a whole, we have a lot of confidence in the guys.
“Against Canberra there was plenty of positive stuff from all the rookies who played. No one should expect them to be perfect, as long as they compete hard and have their roles right, I’m sure they’ll give the opposition stuff to think about most weeks.
“They all tick a number of boxes, so if they go out there and do what they do well, and contribute to the team, that’s all we can ask of them.
“I’d expect them to be a bit nervous and would expect for them to be excited.
“We need a committed team, a team that wants to work hard for each other.”
CHECK NRL ROUND ONE TEAM NEWS HERE.