Saifiti eyes forward battle

Daniel Saifiti is weighing up his encounter with a talented forward pack when the nib Newcastle Knights take on the Penrith Panthers at Pepper Stadium on Friday.

The Knights forward believes three hotly contested matches this season has kept the team's confidence high, but it’s ultimately about the finish.

“We’ll have to toughen up in the middle with the Panthers big forward pack and let the guys like (Nathan) Rossy and Pete (Mata’utia) score the tries for us,” Saifiti told Knights TV.

“We know we can score points, we’ve scored a fair few points in the first three games but we’ve only won one of the three.

“We have to fix up part of our defence and our goal line defence and be more desperate in that area.”

For both sides, youth is a factor, especially in the halves with Penrith fielding a formidable duo of Te Maire Martin and Nathan Cleary.

“I know it’s going to be exciting for people watching the game but for us we have confidence in (Brock) Lamby, he’s done well in the first three rounds,” added Saifiti.

But for the Saifiti twin, it will be the big boys through the middle, he’ll have his eye on.

“James Tamou is a representative player and big (Reagan) Campbell-Gillard are two players I’m looking forward to playing,” explained Saifiti.

“They are two big bodies and it’s a good challenge for me being a young front rower.”

The 20-year-old maintains the Knights must defend more efficiently to get across the line.

“Our back rows not too big but we have a pretty big front row rotation coming in and that’s the key to stopping any team,” Saifiti said.

“We need to get on top of their middle which is one of our goals going into this Panthers game with a big forward pack.

“The two games we’ve lost have been really close to within six points…. if we just fix up a few errors like discipline, I think we can come away with a few wins in the coming weeks.”

The Knights are travelling to Sydney on Thursday before meeting with the Panthers at Pepper Stadium on Friday evening, kick-off is at 6pm.