Robbie Rochow can provide special insight into Sunday's opposition after kicking off his first grade career at the Melbourne Storm, and since then, versing them as a Newcastle Knight.
The Maitland born forward spent a stint in the Knights’ junior system before relocating to Melbourne to join the Storm’s U20s team. He then made his NRL debut for the Storm in Round 14 of the 2010 season.
“Some of the players playing first grade now are some of the ones who I came through juniors with,” he told Knights TV.
Since joining the Newcastle Knights in 2012, he has played a part in some thrilling victories over his former team.
In Round 25 of last season the Knights orchestrated an upset at Melbourne, AAMI Park winning 20-6.
Then there was the Round 24 encounter at Hunter Stadium when the Knights courageously fought back in the dying minutes of the game to snatch a 32-30 win thanks to a challenging sideline conversion nailed by Kurt Gidley.
“I have always enjoyed playing against Melbourne and I think it’s one of the biggest challenges in our game of the modern era,” he said.
“I’ve always enjoyed playing against them and hopefully we can perform really well.”
Some of the encounters against the Storm even form as highlights of his time in the red and blue.
“I was involved in the Kurt Gidley kick from the sideline and the semi final run in Danny Buderus’ last year and that was probably one of the best games I have been a part of,” he said.
In that match, the Knights sealed an 18-16 semi- final win against the Storm at AAMI Park.
“We played really well that day and probably played a lot better that day then the following week when we were beaten by the Roosters,” he said.
“To perform well against that type of team and to come away with two points is a really rewarding feeling because it doesn’t come easy and it is one of the toughest wins of the competition.”
“You have to complete really well for starters and get the basics right.
“Because they are so good defensively, you have to move the ball in attack and support each other and run alongside them so you can pull some defenders from our carries, because if we just let our teammates go one out, then they dominate teams too easily.”
Rochow knows it will be a tough game up front and says the Knights forwards will need to aim up this Sunday.
“Their forward pack works really well together,” he said.
“We have to move the ball a lot and complete well which are two things that are hard to do in game."
Another sturdy start will be needed by the Knights to ensure they compete with the second placed team.
“This competition is so tough, and a lot of our players understand that now,” he said.
“If you give teams a start, and probably Melbourne is the worst team, because they control games so well, you have to fight your way back.
“We had a big focus on our start against Canberra and it gave us every chance of winning so I think that’s going to be the same thing for Melbourne.
“If we don’t start well then we will find ourselves fighting our way out of nothing and not being able to come away with the points.
“We have to start well, and we have to match it with them in the first half so we can get in front.”
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