Mine coach's say: Round 26
nib Newcastle Knights coach Nathan Brown said his men are harbouring a few bumps and bruises coming out of the Canberra Raiders match, but are looking forward to the final home game against the Cronulla Sharks this weekend.
“It is Old Boys Day and our last home game with the 97’ premiership winning side, the first side that won a comp from the Knights being there,” Brown explained.
“Those types of things are definitely big for the Knights and I think Old Boys Day at Newcastle is probably bigger than anywhere else.
“Cronulla is a premiership favourite and it would be good to finish the year successfully and also for the development of our younger players.”
The Knights coach admits it’s not only a chance for players to perform well for their final game of the season but to take in the rich history of the Club.
“We have had a number of Old Boys that have come and talked to the players this year and we’re certainly looking at one of the '97 players to come in” Brown added.
“We try to make the younger players realise what the Club was built on back in Allan McMahon days, along with Mal Reilly when he won and when (Michael) Hagan won.
“A number of players like (Tony) Butterfield and (Paul) Harragon, the boys certainly know who they are and know what they did for the Club.”
Game day on Sunday at McDonald Jones Stadium will also be a time to farewell a number of players.
“There is going to be a number of guys including Dane (Gagai) that has been through a lot with the Knights,” commented Brown.
“He came through the Nathan Tinkler era and last time the Club made the playoffs, so Dane was here and a shining light for the Club not only on and off the field but in the representative arena."
Although this week the team will be without influential forward Daniel Saifiti.
“Daniel is not going to be any good because he has done his shoulder and has to have some sort of surgery,” said Brown.
“A few others are carrying some bumps and bruises but hopefully the long turnaround will be to our benefit and get a few more fit and over the line to play.
“Sione (Mata’utia) was also fit to play last week, he passed all his tests but the specialist thought it was best to stand him down.
“He desperately wants to play so he will sit down and talk to the specialist.”
Meanwhile, Brown confirmed recruitment for 2018 is still ongoing.
“We are in a position of strength to get in the market and something could come up good for us so the next month or two will be a busy time from us on that front,” stated the Knights coach.
“We certainly won’t fill our roster this year, or I’d be surprised.
“If current players are not signed at the moment, it doesn’t mean they won’t get signed.
“Their managers are out there actively looking for those players and it doesn’t mean they won’t be with the Knights."
The Knights take on the Sharks for Old Boys Day and Father’s Day at McDonald Jones Stadium this Sunday, NYC kick-off at 11.45 before NRL at 2pm. ISP play their elimination final against the North Sydney Bears at Kogarah also on Sunday.