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nib Newcastle Knights coach Nathan Brown believes captain Trent Hodkinson is like a new player to the Club.

Hodkinson, who made the most appearances for the Knights last season with 23, took on a new training approach this pre-season to better manage a knee issue.

“Our season has probably been tailored better for him and now Hodko (Hodkinson) is running much more freely,” said Brown.

“In the reserve grade trial he was the best player and then last weekend’s Canberra game, he had a great contribution to the team so hopefully we can manage him.”

The Knights coach believes when his captain is on song, the rest of the team will follow his lead.

“If he’s nice and reliable and controls the team well and helps us get to the right area of the field, that would be a nice starting point,” Brown said.

But Brown insists there’s not a focus on just one or two players to win matches, it’s a whole team effort.

“We’re not a team that is going to rely on one player or expect miracles from anyone personally,” he said.

“We’re going to need a good combined 17-man effort to win a game.”

Especially this weekend when the red and blue travel to Auckland for their season opener against the New Zealand Warriors at Mt Smart Stadium on Sunday.

Brown maintains they’ll have to overcome a big strong pack from their opponents.

“They’ve got some really big outside backs,” Brown added.

“(David) Fusitua and (Solomone) Kata, these types of blokes are big and strong,

“Obviously (Roger) Tuivasa-Sheck provides a lot of class and Shaun Johnson and their forwards provides another platform so they’re not one dimensional, it’s going to take a 17-man team effort.

“We’ll go over there and be confident if we do what we do well, we’ll give ourselves a chance.”