Newcastle Knights' forward Sam Mataora says a strong start will be vital in the side’s first match of the season at Hunter Stadium.
The team has set sights on a much needed win against opponent the Canberra Raiders on Saturday.
“I’m expecting a pretty powerful side, we played them in the trial,” he said.
“Hopefully we can match them early and get a good start and that sets the platform for us."
Mataora says there no shortage of motivation for the team to perform well on the weekend.
“We want to put on a good performance and it’s a pretty big achievement for (Jarrod) Mullo to get 200 games at the one Club, its awesome,” he said.
“It’s been good, but without a win, it makes it a bit harder to enjoy, but hopefully this week we can turn up and put in a good performance.”
The Knights are determined to step up from last round’s loss to the South Sydney Rabbitohs and have maintained an upbeat attitude at training leading into the Round 3 game.
“We’re just learning from the negatives and trying to take as many positives as we can,” he said.
“Last week was a wake up call and we still have areas to work on.
“Souths were on another level and that’s the level we want to be at.
“We try to make it easier for everyone on the field so we can work together. That’s the goal. We are still working on it.”
To celebrate Jarrod Mullen’s 200th NRL game, the Knights will hand out free special edition #Mullo200 try cards to the first 5000 people through the gate. Keep your eyes on the sky during the game for collectable #Mullo200 T shirts that will be fired into the crowd.
Newcastle Knights v Canberra Raiders
Date: Saturday March 19
Gates open: 12.30pm
Reserve Grade: 2.40pm
Phone: 136 100
In Person: Any ticketmaster box office