Knights focus on improvement
Newcastle Knights halfback Trent Hodkinson says his teammates are focused on improvement ahead of their Round 10 match against the Cronulla Sharks at Hunter Stadium this Sunday.
Returning to the training paddock after the representative round, with many refreshed from a week without football, the side are intent to get their season back on track.
While a number of Knights were involved in representative games, Hodkinson embraced the opportunity to switch off during the weekend.
“I got away from footy a little bit. I had a look at Pacific games and that was quite fun to watch,” he said.
“It was good to get away from footy for a weekend, but we’re back in today and we have a tough game this week."
The Knights' joint-captain was frank in his appraisal of the team’s performance to date but viewed it a major positive the team was aware of where work needed to be made.
“It's been a little bit inconsistent and we are making it very hard on ourselves to win games. There were a couple of games where we should of won but we didn’t,” Hodkinson said.
“It's not where we want it to be at the moment and there's plenty of room for improvement.
“We are killing ourselves at the same time so that's probably the overview at the moment.”
With State of Origin looming, Hodkinson admits he’s not paid much attention to speculation surrounding selection.
"I kept my mind off everything to be honest. I haven't thought about things too much,” he said.
“I want to get things right at Newcastle first and that's where my focus is.
“I want to get my game right here and start winning games and that will look after itself.
“I need to improve and know I can improve moving forward for Newcastle.
“There's always room for improvement for me and I'm always looking for improvement.
“That's nothing unusual for me.”
An area of the Knights’ game that’s expected to strengthen with time is the new partnership in the halves.
Brock Lamb made a step up to first grade after injury sidelined Jarrod Mullen.
“It was good to see Lamby get a crack. He's had a great pre-season and is such a mature young kid,” he said.
"Moving forward, being without Jarrod for quite some time now, we'll have to find that combination and hopefully that will improve each week.”
It’s no doubt the Sharks pose a threat on Sunday with the team in good form and conceding just two losses this season, but the Knights intend to rise to the challenge.
“It's going to be a huge test for us right across the board,” he said.
“They are going well and (their halves) have been steering them around the paddock nicely.
“We are going to have to be on our A-game.
“Their forward pack with Mick (Michael) Ennis at dummy half has been playing tremendous footy and is career best form.
“It's going to be a tough one for us.”