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The season opener for the nib Newcastle Knights may not have resulted in a win, but the match showed some good signs for the Club according to back rower Mitch Barnett.

In a topsy turvy game that saw both sides lead at different stages of the match, the last ten minutes proved crucial for the New Zealand Warriors, who claimed a nail biting 26-22.

Barnett maintains when they held the ball there were definite signs of a better Newcastle outfit, but there’s still more work to be done.

“It was a little disappointing about the 25 minute period, we went away from what we’ve been doing in the pre-season with poor ball control and they scored a few quick tries,” Barnett said.

“But we played some good football and there’s signs we are a better team this year.”

Barnett said the Knights have been working hard to make sure they come out strong from the starting siren.

“That’s going to be key for us this year, to start well… we just need to work on that performance and then we’ll improve,” he explained.

“We’re playing a bit different this year which I think has benefited a lot of players.

“I thought Jamie Buhrer being a new bloke and slotting into hooker looked very good out on the field.

“All the new combinations are starting to come together.”

Now with Round 1 behind them, the Knights turn their focus to Saturday’s match at home.

“We’re all pumped, we had a brief chat about it, it’s a short turnaround for us so we need to rip into training this week,” Barnett said.

“For our first home game hopefully we get a big crowd out there.”

The Knights are in action at McDonald Jones Stadium against the Gold Coast Titans on Saturday, with kick off at 3pm.