As one of nine debutants taking part in the nib Newcastle Knights’ golden point win over the Manly Sea Eagles last week, Aidan Guerra said it was a special moment he won’t forget.
“It certainly was, and to be able to feel the support of the home crowd, to see what it means to people in Newcastle and the Hunter region, it was special,” he smiled.
“Coming here you always did feel the crowd no matter how well or how bad the Knights were going, and to be on the good side of those cheers definitely helped us home.
“I knew when I came here what the Club meant to the people and that has been backed up because the more time I spend here, you see the community get around the Club and the Club get around the community.
“I’m looking forward to going into Round 2 even though we don’t have the home crowd, we still know they’ll be back here in their homes cheering for us.”
The 30-year-old, who made a blistering 42 tackles last week, knows he’ll be up against a powerful forward pack this week in Canberra.
“They’re a big forward pack and they probably play off the back of their back five,” he explained.
“Their forwards will try and kick down our front door.
“Canberra are just about bigger than everyone, and they’ve got a couple of big boppers there who are going to be hard, especially when they are running hard.
“It’s laid the platform for a bit of a challenge for our middles, so we’ve got to step up.
“We’ve got to try and meet them, meet their enthusiasm, meet their power and I think it’s set to be a good challenge.”
He believes after Raiders' two-point loss to the Titans last Sunday, the Green Machine will be raring to go on Sunday.
“It’s early in the season so they’ll come out trying to play their best style of football and that is running hard and straight, trying to break tackles and we’ll be trying to meet it with our best defence,” Guerra commented.
“I guess whoever does that the longest will come away with the win.”
The Knights forward also had praise for young gun Kalyn Ponga, who scored a try and saved two tries on Friday.
Guerra hopes the 19-year-old will be able to keep up his stellar form.
“It’s hard for KP at the back, he’s there by himself and if he catches it he’s going to have four, five, six blokes coming down on him, and that’s why you give respect to all those guys that play fullback,” stated Guerra.
“For a young fullback he did that well against Manly and we’ll be looking at him to do that again this weekend and many weekends to come.”
Guerra also had props for hooker Slade Griffin, who impressed in his first game as a Knight.
“He was everywhere… they’d sort of make a little half break through the middle and there he was to clean it up.
“I thought his effort for the amount of time he played, in Round 1 against a forward pack like Manly was excellent.
“He was great in defence and saved us a few line breaks, even scored a try, and we’ll be looking for that kind of effort from him again.”