Barnett keen to take on old teammates

A former Raider himself, Mitch Barnett admits it will be good to come up against some familiar faces this Friday.

“I will probably catch up with a few guys after the game but I’ll leave (any banter) until after the game, see how the result pans out,” he smiled.

“I enjoy playing against some familiar faces, but it's no different for me every week.

“It is not so much the opposition I worry about it, it is more my role in the team.”

Barnett is expecting he’ll have a handful in the middle.

“We need to stop the big boys, they’ve got a very big forward pack,” explained Barnett.

“That's also followed up by some very strong outside backs and even their halves are dangerous running.

“(Aidan) Sezer’s kicking game had some great 40-20s in the last couple of weeks so if we show up there in the middle to start off with, hopefully we can control everything else.”

Recent results against the Knights and Raiders suggest the Round 25 clash will be a thriller and Barnett admits their opposition will be looking for redemption.

“We got a win early in the year and they would not have forgotten about that,” said Barnett.

“They have plenty to play for and they need to win to make the eight so they won’t want to lose this one.

“They will be fired up but so will we and hopefully we can put in a good performance.”

And he knows all too well the frosty conditions they’ll be facing.

“It is freezing, it is so hard to warm up there,” Barnett explained.

“It's a lot colder than what it is here but it is a different kind of coldness, hopefully it won’t be windy.

With an injury halfway through the season, the 23-year-old admits it’s been hard to assess his own form, but feels there’s been improvement in his game.

“It's hard to tell because I had that injury that slowed me down a little bit but I feel like I’ve picked up from where I started the season off,” commented Barnett.

“I'm playing in the middle where as last year I was playing on the edge and I feel like I'm starting to improve and understand my role in this team a lot more.

“It gives me a lot of confidence going into the pre-season with a lot of competition there for next year and I just need to keep turning up, working hard and learning and hopefully put my best foot forward for next year.”

The Knights travel to the nation’s capital on Thursday for their clash with the Raiders Friday night at GIO Stadium, NYC kick-off at 3.45pm before NRL at 6pm.