Knights lift for Panthers clash
Newcastle Knight Trent Hodkinson says the team will need to produce a solid 80-minute performance in order top compete with the Penrith Panthers on Sunday.
The experience halfback anticipates a hard-fought match at Hunter Stadium against an opposition determined to cement their spot in the top eight, but is confidence the Knights are up for the challenge.
“It’s another tough game for us at home,’ he said on Thursday.
“Penrith are coming off another a great win on Monday night.
“I saw a few highlights and they are on fire at the moment.
“They will be a big ask at home, but I’m confident we can do it."
The Knights will draw on the positives from last week’s narrow loss to the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs with the aim of this week lifting the bar in order to earn a win in front of a home crowd.
“We are going to have to focus on ourselves and take some confidence out of the Bulldogs game,” he said.
“We were in it for most of that game and just let it slip.
“We have to play right to the end for this one.”
Looking at the Panthers line-up, he singled out areas the Knights will be determined to contain.
“Young (Nathan) Cleary in the halves has been playing some good footy and (Matt) Moylan at fullback has been playing some good footy,” he said.
“The forwards have been laying a good platform for their outside backs and halves to play off so all round they are going to be hard to handle.
“It’s going to be a tough match but confident we’ll come out with a win.”
He predicts the return of Mitch Barnett from suspension as well as the possible return of Sione Mata’utia from injury will provide the team a boost.
“It’s always good to have players back who have that experience and do well on the edges,” he said.
“We welcome them back with welcome arms as they will add to what we’ve got already.”
Be at Hunter Stadium this Sunday to cheer on the Knights as they take on the Panthers and farewell veteran winger James McManus. Buy your match tickets here.