Young nib Newcastle Knights forward Luke Yates believes the bye round couldn’t have come at a better time as the team prepares for the challenge of taking on ladder leaders the Melbourne Storm.
The 21-year-old admits the break has been useful to get on top of niggling injuries while encountering the Storm during the Origin week opener is also a good opportunity.
“They are a top of the table NRL team so they’ve got a lot of lads that are going to have to back up from Wednesday to Friday which is going to be tough for them,” he said.
“We are versing them at a good time and hopefully we can get a win.
“I think they make a statement about backing up and always try and do the best they can so I’m looking forward to it.”
Melbourne is known for their domination in the ruck but Yates maintains if the Knights focus on good body position things will go their way.
“We had an extra wrestle session yesterday so when we’re on, we’re actually really good,” Yates commented.
“When we’re not completing our sets and giving them more ball, that’s when we start getting loose around the ruck.”
The Knights forward says they’ll have to grind out a solid defensive effort.
“We just need to stick to our game plan and complete our sets,” explained Yates.
“We have competed very well against the bigger sides, we put it over Canberra (Raiders) which is probably the biggest pack with Melbourne.
“They are very dominant; they’ve got the big three playing there and Billy Slater is back playing for them.
“I would put it down to what they do in the off-season and how they train.
“(Nathan) Browny has been down there and said how hard they train.”
The young forward said he is looking forward to the trip to Melbourne on Thursday but maybe not so much the winter chill.
“I have been down there for 20s and I like the coffee scene down there so I am quite looking forward to it but the cold weather I am not too keen,” Yates laughed.
The Knights encounter the Storm at AAMI Park this Friday for Round 13, kick-off is at 6pm.