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Griffin looking for key players to step up

Press conference: Slade Griffin on Round 8

nib Newcastle Knights hooker Slade Griffin is confident in the abilities of Jack Cogger, Brock Lamb and the returning Connor Watson to fill the hole left by Mitchell Pearce after he injured his pectoral in Saturday's clash against the Wests Tigers in Tamworth.

Griffin admitted that while the Knights have been reliant on what Pearce has served up in attack so far this year, he and other senior players in the group are prepared to step up to the plate and lead the team in the right direction.

"Mitchell is a great player and he has been monumental in what we have done so far this year and he is going to be a massive loss," Griffin explained.

"But in saying that we have a lot of depth in that position, I thought Coggs (Jack Cogger) played really well on the weekend... I was actually very impressed (with his performance).

"We have been pretty reliant on what Mitchell has given us so far, so it's going to be on the forwards and other key players like Kalyn and myself to step up. We are going to get Mitchell back at the end of the year... when we get him back we will be an even more potent footy team."

"Being the older head out there in the spine I will probably have to (take more control during the game). We have a lot of forwards who are also great talkers like Mitch Barnett and Jamie Buhrer, and I am very confident in Coggs, he has a really good voice (on the field)... I know he hasn't played a lot of first grade, but he has played halfback his whole life and knows how to play the position well."

The country-born hooker, who was born in Glen Innes, New South Wales before moving to New Zealand as a child relished the atmosphere of Tamworth, and what a game of that calibre meant to a country town.

"I love taking games out to the country, I grew up in the country and I know how much it meant when a footy team took a game away. We had a packed house there and it was a great atmosphere."