Mine coach's say: Round 23
nib Newcastle Knights coach Nathan Brown has no doubt it will be a challenge to break the momentum of the Parramatta Eels, who are looking for their seventh consecutive win this Friday night at ANZ Stadium.
“They are playing well, they’ve won six on the bounce now,” Brown said on Tuesday.
“They have been a club that has promised so much for so long and last year they started to deliver on that, now they’re right in the fight.
“They are pretty much guaranteed a finals spot and they’re trying to position themselves in that top four and I’m sure they’ll give us a tough game this week but it’s one we’re looking forward to.”
The Parramatta Eels, who are currently sitting in fifth spot, will provide another challenge for the young Knights.
“They play a really tough game and have a lot of blokes who really enjoy the physical part of the game,” Brown explained.
“They have got some very smart players so we’ll certainly have a challenge.
“I will be hopeful of what we’ve shown in the back half of the year, we’ll be able to put ourselves in the competition.
“Corey Norman is as good as an Origin player and (Mitchell) Moses has been playing for four or five years in first grade and they are both very smart players and know their way around the field.
“They have a number of forwards who are very good footballers and tough as well.
“Manu Ma’u can play footy and he’s tough and (Nathan) Brown has been a real shining light for them and Kenny Edwards.”
As the Knights work on further recruitment to the Club, Brown confirmed a number of players of interest.
“Slade Griffin comes from an outstanding environment,” said Brown.
“When I was down in Melbourne, I knew Slade down there and he’s the hooker spot we’re looking at.
“It's no secret we have met with Mitch Rein, we’ve met with the young fella from Canterbury (Bankstown Bulldogs) as well, Michael Lichaa.
“It has only come to light recently that Adam Blair may possibly be able to leave.
“He is a player that is experienced, a great trainer, is good with his diet and not only has an impact on every player in the squad but particularly a role model for the young guys like Mitch (Barnett) and the Saifitis.
“James Graham was one that was certainly up earlier but didn’t want to leave Canterbury and whether that changes now, it may be different with the situation Canterbury are in because they have signed a number of high profile players.
“At this stage James Maloney is going to be there for the rest of this year, if that changes I’m sure the rugby league world will know.
“It is probably more of a thing that is in Cronulla’s hands but the fact he’s from the Central Coast and coming home may be a good thing for him, I’m not sure.”
The Knights coach stated they are also in talks with current players to extend their contracts.
“We are currently talking to a few guys that are on contract until the end of next year that we’d like to see stay here long term,” explained Brown.
“I am quietly confident most of them or all of them would want to be a part of that.”
Meanwhile, Brown stressed his belief that the salary cap should stay at its agreed amount for next year.
“Clubs that decided to go over it, that’s the chance they took,” he said.
“It probably helped them get some good players at the time but on the other hand, if it doesn’t go to the level you’ve spent, then you’ll have to shed players.
“We shouldn’t be punished for doing the right thing, that’s for sure.”
The Knights take on the Eels at ANZ Stadium on Friday. NYC kick-off at 3.45pm before NRL at 6pm.