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NRL Premiership Round 19 - Newcastle Knights v Melbourne Storm - Sunday 17 July 2016, Hunter Stadium Broadmeadow NSW - Photographer Shane Myers ©

Mitch Barnett looks forward to a return to the Newcastle Knights’ starting line-up to take on the Penrith Panthers at Hunter Stadium on Sunday after serving a suspension. 

“It’s been a long two weeks for me but I’m really thankful to be put in the team this week and am eager to get back out there,” he said.

The 22-year-old second rower says he’s taken lessons from his time on the sideline and has worked hard during training sessions on his technique.

“I just need to be a little bit smarter, especially under fatigue, but it’s a lesson I have learned and will move forward from here,” he said.

“Accidents do happen and I need to get that little stuff out of my game.

"I have a lot of things to work on and I’ve been working with Browny (coach Nathan Brown) and the rest of the coaching staff. He just wants me to keep playing my natural game and improving week to week"

Barnett says the Knights have prepared for a dynamic attacking game from their opposition who will no doubt be vying for finals football.

With that in mind he’s excited for the chance to continue his growth and challenge himself on the NRL stage.

“They are a younger team and like to play off the cuff a little bit,” he said.

“It took me a couple of games to get going and I’m still a fair way off my best, but I’m happy with the improvement I was getting week to week.

“I have had this little setback but can’t go backward and have to go forward.

“I’m out there to the best for my team.”

The Knights will celebrate James McManus' career this Sunday, with the flying Scotsman doing one final lap to farewell the fans before the NRL match kicks off at Hunter Stadium.


Date: Sunday August 14
Gates open: 11.30am
Kick-off: 2.00pm
Venue: Hunter Stadium