Limiting the Penrith Panthers’ attacking power will be at the top of the agenda for the Newcastle Knights on Sunday according to five-eighth Jarrod Mullen.
“They have lots of attacking power all of the park so if we can limit their opportunities down our end of the it’s going to go a long way to winning the game,” he told Knights TV on Thursday.
“They like to throw the ball around a bit and are a very flamboyant team.
“If we can stop their offloads, we’ll have a good chance.”
In last weekend’s match against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, Mullen made a strong return to the field after injuring his hamstring.
“The injury went really well and I didn’t feel anything at all, and on a wet testing surface, it was probably the best guide I could get,” he said.
“I have full confidence I will get through again.”
The return of Mitch Barnett as well as possible return of injured Sione Mata’utia in the back row will go a long way in bolstering the Knights’ hopes of securing a win at Hunter Stadium.
“Anytime you get experienced players back and some fresh blood into the team, it gives everyone a bit of a boost,” he said.
“You can see around training today, the boys are laughing…so it’s a good vibe going into this weekend."
In the absence of ruled out players, there’s been plenty of young heads stepping up to the mark.
The veteran half believes the experience playing in different positions will teach developing players plenty of valuable lessons about the NRL.
“It gives them a bit of a taste what first grade is about. We’re not going that well at the moment but it will put them in good stead for their future careers,” he said
“Hopefully we will finish with a few wins going into next season.”
The fact the Knights have a stretch of home games in the final rounds of the season is something he’s also pleased about.
“Anytime we play at home in front of your friends and family, it’s great,” he said.
“The crowd definitely lifts you hopefully we can send them out with some wins before then end of the season."
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.
NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS v PENRITH PANTHERS
Date: Sunday August 14
Gates open: 11.30am
Venue: Hunter Stadium