Press conference: Mitch Barnett on Round 8
Confidence is high in the nib Newcastle Knights camp this week, after a thrilling win against the Wests Tigers last week and a one-nil record over the Manly Sea Eagles already this season.
The Knights travel down to Sydney on Thursday to take on Manly at Lottoland on Friday night, and enforcer Mitch Barnett admits consistency will be the key.
"We have been having lapses where we let two or three tries in little periods of the game, so if we can cut that out and play more consistently across the 80 minutes, it will help us going forward to win a lot more games," he commented.
Despite not having the best record at Brookvale Oval, the 24-year-old believes the momentum is swinging the Knights' way.
"It's a difficult place for everyone to play, but I guess the last couple of years we haven't had the strongest side to go down there and put a good performance in," Barnett said.
"This year we do so I think if we turn up with a winning attitude, and everyone works really hard, I'm sure we can get the job done.
"It gives us confidence to have already beaten them as well as coming off a win against the Tigers... they're no slouches.
"All the boys are really confident and we're just looking forward to a big game."
And while there has been drama off the field for Manly this week, Barnett conceded they don't expect any less than a tough encounter.
"They don't need any more motivation than what they've got to play well, and we've been preparing for them as best as possible.
"It's going to be a really tough game in front of their home crowd at Brookie and I'm sure they're going to turn up.
"They're a very physical pack, a very big pack and I think that's where we've got to match them and where the game will be won or lost."
With a new halves pairing taking the reins in Connor Watson and Jack Cogger, Barnett knows the red and blue forward pack will need to lay the platform early.
"The halves are going to go a lot better if we defend solidly and limit offloads... Marty Taupau has probably got the best offloads in the NRL this year, so if we can do a job there, it's probably where the game can also be won or lost," he said.
"It's very important, especially while the new halves are starting to gel, but I'm confident in our halves, it's no new role for them, they've played there before."
With a number of players urged by coach Nathan Brown to step up in their roles as leaders this week, Barnett said he'll lead by example.
"I try and lead with my actions," Barnett commented.
"Aidan (Guerra) and JB (Jamie Buhrer) are good leaders, they will lead through talking, but I think everyone needs to step up a little bit.
"Aidan is good for our younger fellas by helping them with confidence on the field when an error or whatever has been made, and through his chat he picks up the confidence levels."