Competition - NRL Premiership Round. Round - Round 12. Teams - Newcastle Knights v Parramatta Eels. Date - 30th of May 2016. Venue - Hunter Stadium, Broadmeadow NSW. Photographer - Paul Barkley.

Newcastle Knight Trent Hodkinson says a strong start will be essential when the side comes up against the New Zealand Warriors at Hunter Stadium this Saturday.

“I think the start is really important against the Warriors,” he said on Friday after the Knights’ Captains’ run training session.

“We need to limit their start, focus on ourselves and get in to that grind mentality. 

“If they are playing from behind it might be a bit tough for them to come from behind.” 

With the Warriors leading off a confidence-building win against the Broncos in Round 13, the Knights are eager to determine the pace of the game.

“We just have to stay patient,” he said.

“They can get a few offloads, that’s what they are known for so we need to control the speed of the game and get through our sets to not have pressure on us."

The home side will also pay special attention to Warriors' halfback, Shaun Johnson in an effort to limit the opposition's prowess in attack. 

“He’s a very dangerous player and you don’t know what he’s going to do half the time,” he said. 

“If we shut down their big men and slow their ruck down, we can limit what he does out wide, so that’s a big challenge for the boys this week."

Hodkinson hopes the side gains a boost from the addition of two new players, Brenden Elliot and Mitch Barnett, who joined the Club mid week.  

“There’s a couple new faces which is good,” he said.

“They are excited and are in the mix now so they are looking forward to getting out there.

“They are both young talents and have big futures. 

“With Brendan, he’s played with the Roosters and shown he’s a great player. He’s good under the high ball and is a great runner and he shuts down the defence out wide.

“Barnett has been playing great NSW Cup for some time now and has (won) Player of the Year a couple of times.

“They both have big futures and the things they will bring to our team will be positive.” 

Meanwhile Hodkinson has been impressed with another young player, Jack Cogger who will again partner him in the halves.

“He has had two games now and is playing like a veteran already,” he said. 

“He’s switched on and does his extras at training and doesn’t let anything get to him.

“It looks like he’s had a lot of time with the footy when he gets his hands on the ball and he held his own in defence as well which is great.

“We are forming that combination at the moment.” 

While the side is minus senior forward Tariq Sims due to injury, he says the Knights have plenty of belief they can get the job done in front of a home crowd at Hunter Stadium.

“He’s going to be a big blow as he’s one of the senior guys in the team and we’ll miss him out there for sure, But Barnett comes in now and gets his opportunity there so a couple of young guys are going to have to step up in Tariq’s absence,” he said.

“The feeling has been good at training so we’ll give it a good crack.”

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