Ross living the dream
The nib Newcastle Knights may be struggling for a win, but fullback Nathan Ross says the motivation is still there.
“It’s not hard, we’re living out our dream,” said Ross.
“It is not good the situation we’re in but you shouldn’t need any more motivation than trying to play in the NRL.
“It's what growing up as kids we wanted to be.”
The 28-year-old is optimistic that better times are ahead.
“We have been showing signs of improvement since the Wests Tigers game and we’re heading in the right direction,” commented Ross.
“Once again the strength of our squad grows with potentially the return of Ken Sio this weekend and Shaun Kenny-Dowall should be fit to play against his old club.”
While a number of losses this season have been heartbreaking, Ross feels it’s a tough lesson that the young players are learning from.
“It has almost been a baptism of fire, but I think in terms of longevity of their future, as players and as their development will continue, they’re only going to be better for it,” Ross explained.
“I don’t think you could name another forward pack who have gone through what our young guys have gone through.
“I think they’re starting to show resilience and they’re starting to show intent with what they do.
“You just need to have a look at what Josh King did, the person whose spot he took on the first run of the game on the weekend, he really showed some dominance there and I think the Saifiti boys, Mitch Barnett and Josh King are standing up.”
Switching to the fullback role has been an exciting time for Ross, who credits coach Nathan Brown for his opportunities.
“I love playing number one, it is my favourite position to play on the field,” smiled Ross.
“I think if you take away the Tigers game, I have had a pretty good showing there and my fitness base is up to a high level number one now."
And even though the Club has new signings coming through for next season, Ross is not phased by his role within the team.
“We have got young Kalyn Ponga coming in so I guess it’s my job to create a headache for Nathan (Brown),” he said.
“Kalyn is a great young talent and lucky enough for me I’m quite versatile so I feel just as comfortable in the centres or on the wing... so it comes down to what the best fit is for this Club and I’m just happy to be here and be part of the ride.”
Round 20 will again be difficult, with the Sydney Roosters at Allianz Stadium.
“The Roosters will be a step up from the Broncos, the Broncos were missing Josh McGuire and Matt Gillett who are two international players,” Ross explained.
“I am not sure who the Roosters are going to put at fullback instead of Michael Gordon and with Jake Friend out, they might be a little more disjointed.
“Trent Robinson is a great coach and they’ve got two good halves in Luke Keary and Mitchell Pearce and I’m sure Pearce will be looking to come out all guns blazing after Origin season.”
The entertaining fullback knows they’ll have to be primed for their encounter on Friday night.
“The Roosters have a big forward pack and they’ve got a big backline,” Ross commented.
“It is just a game where you’ve got to bite down on your mouthguard, run the ball as hard as you can and hope not to get pumped.
“Shaun Kenny-Dowall is on our side this time so hopefully he’ll give us some insight.”