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Buhrer ready for trial match action

According to experienced forward Jamie Buhrer, preparation for the upcoming trials are progressing well for the nib Newcastle Knights.

He admits while there’s always room for improvement, the squad is working well together as they prepare for season 2018.

“We’ve had some fairly intense scrimmage sessions over the past few weeks and there’s been open sessions as well, so that’s been good for preparation,” commented Buhrer.

“We’re at the point where the trials are welcomed because we’re sick of getting flogged and whacking one another as teammates, so it’ll be good to get out there and tackle someone else.”

The 28-year-old believes both trials will be a platform to help polish up on their defensive plays and attacking skills.

“I want us to be strong in defence and efficient in attack… they seem like fairly simple goals and important from a team stand point,” Buhrer added.

“We have made some adjustments defensively, we’ve got a lot of new faces in the roster, so it’s important we don’t over play our hand and if we can come away showing some really good signs in defence, I’ll be most pleased.

“From an attacking point of view, that’s something that will come over the course of the season with the quality of players we have, but defence is a mind-set, so we need to be switched on and ready to go.”

The Knights forward maintains getting the chance to go up against reigning premiers Melbourne Storm and the Parramatta Eels, couldn’t be better preparation for Round 1.

“From what I’m told Melbourne will rest some of their big names who have just come back from the World Cup, which is understandable, but from last year they showed they’re a very deep squad and you don’t win a grand final without that type of depth,” Buhrer said.

“They’re a quality system, a well-run operation with a lot of good players and it’s a great way to test ourselves while Parramatta is a very powerful team, who made some great strides last year and look to improve again this year."

A strong leader within the group, Buhrer has kept a close eye on the emerging combinations and is impressed with what he sees.

“Kalyn (Ponga) has looked very good at training and I’m looking forward to seeing him in some live action,” Buhrer admitted.

“I’m just looking forward to seeing how the whole team goes because it’s a good test and there’s a lot of competition for spots.

The experienced forward eager to see some of the positives with the new-look 2018 squad, including an increased leadership presence.

“It’s great we have the leadership depth now and even a lot of the players that have been here for a couple of years, they’re continuing to develop and develop a voice,” smiled Buhrer.

“Mitch Barnett hasn’t played a heap of first grade, but he leads by example and gains that respect.

“It’s not just the new players we have adding to the leadership group, it’s the existing players because they’re continuing to improve in leadership aspects.

“We’re a much better well-rounded group this year and that certainly does take some pressure off all of us and also backs all of us.

“We’re all one voice, no one yells and screams for the sake of it, everything has a meaning and a reason, and I think we’re starting to see a lot of the benefits as this pre-season has progressed.”