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Ross not affected by outside noise

Press conference: Nathan Ross on Round 8

Nathan Ross is positive the Club will remain cool under pressure in the absence of star halfback Mitchell Pearce, who sustained a pectoral injury in Tamworth last weekend.

Although Pearce has been a central pillar in the Club's improvements so far this season, Ross is confident in the leadership abilities of Jack Cogger, who takes over at halfback.

"It's a huge blow... for us to lose a player of Mitchell's (Pearce) calibre," Ross stated.

"He is the type of player that has been coming up with the right plays at the right times throughout this season.

"But when one door closes another door opens and it's a good opportunity for Jack Cogger to step up and show that he can be our main half... we also welcome back Connor Watson this weekend."

It's expected senior members within the playing group will pick up the slack and take on increased leadership roles, with the announcement that Aidan Guerra will take on a co-captaincy role alongside Jamie Buhrer.

Ross is certain other players, such as emerging star Lachlan Fitzgibbon, will take advantage of the situation and become more vocal on the field.

"We have been pretty blessed this year in terms of leadership whereas in the past few years we've probably lacked that," said Ross.

"We have lost Mitchell but Aidan, Jamie and Mitch Barnett are great leaders on the field.

"We've also got emerging leaders like Lachlan Fitzgibbon... everyone just needs to turn up, do their job and not be overwhelmed by the situation."

The 30-year-old winger dispelled the notion that the Knights will struggle without Pearce and claimed the team has not been affected by external noise.

"It's just external noise... internally we are very confident with the playing group we have... Jack (Cogger) was here for the first six or seven weeks of pre-season before Pearce got here, so we do have a good connection and foundation through the playing squad," Ross explained.

The team has rallied ahead of the clash against the Manly Sea Eagles at Lottoland on Friday night, and are prepared for one of their toughest matches of the year.

"Historically it has been a tough match for Newcastle down there (in Brookvale) and Manly won't need any more motivation than what has been happening the past few weeks for them, and we are expecting a tough match," Ross added.

"Generally, when a club faces adversity internally, the playing group binds together, and they find form.

"We will go down there expecting a hard match and hope to get back on the road with the two points."