Coach's Say: Round 12

With the nib Newcastle Knights harbouring a few injuries this week, the side will see a number of changes this week.

"With Brock (Lamb) injured, Jack (Cogger) will come back in," said coach Nathan Brown.

"Coggs played his part in a few wins for us which was good, and all the guys have confidence in Jack doing well.

"We rested Heighno (Chris Heighington) last week and with Jacob Saifiti injured he'll come back in... he played a lot of games in a row and we didn't want to play him all the time, while Jamie Buhrer has got himself back in contention as well.

"Ox (Jacob Lillyman) played the other day and was nice and solid for us and we'd expect him to play again for sure.

"Slade (Griffin) is carrying a niggle so we are very hopeful of him being fit, but we're confident he will be okay.

"He understands what his role is and has been pretty consistent for us this year."

While Lamb took the majority of kicking duties in last week's game, it will be shared when the Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks this Sunday.


"Jack has done a lot of work in the pre-season on his kicking and is kicking the ball reasonably well," Brown explained.

"Some of the better halfbacks in the history of the game weren't longer kickers but we have other options there... KP (Kalyn Ponga) can kick, Connor (Watson) can kick a little bit.

"With Jack, it's what his teammates have to do to help him and if we get that right, we should all support a kick chase well... I don't expect him to kick like Mitchell Pearce does.

"We're comfortable, we beat a really good Manly side with Jack at half and he also contributed very well against the Tigers, so if we get our defence going well and we make it a little harder for the opposition, that will help."

Ponga will also be the go to man for kicking goals on the weekend.

"Kalyn will goal kick... Brock was a very good goal kicker and that was another reason he came into the side, so KP will kick and we'll just stick with him for the rest of the year," Brown added.

The head coach admits intensity at training is always at a high standard, but the challenge is for his younger players to replicate what they learn on the training field into games under pressure.

"For our last three games we've played, we've been in positions to win all of those games, but we've had moments where we don't really replicate what happens on the training paddock as far as our talk goes, or the way we respond to something not going our way," Brown commented.

"We need to execute a bit better in our defence and offence for longer periods under pressure, under duress, and get our talk and systems right... that's the challenge.

And being Beanie for Brain Cancer Round this week, it's a big occasion for the Knights at Beanie for Brain Cancer Stadium.

Brown acknowledged the hard work done by Knights legend Mark Hughes.

"Along with Mark, the brain cancer story has touched a lot of different people," Brown stated.

"The cause is huge, and a lot of people are on board and whether you're going to the game or not, I think it would be good if you bought a beanie.

"Hughesy is one of the Club's favourite sons and is one of five that have played a part in and won both grand finals with the Knights, and probably epitomises what the Knights are all about.

"He's a battler from Kurri, he thinks he's from Merewether now, but he did it the hard way, wasn't a kid that was the most talented player, but he was a player that everyone wanted to play with and along the way he picked up a few grand finals, a few Origin jumpers and became a favourite of the town.

"It means a lot to the community but also for the Newcastle Knights, it has a more special meaning that anything else."

To support the Mark Hughes Foundation, be sure to donate, buy a beanie for $20, or pick up an MHF Beanie for Brain Cancer jersey exclusively from the Knights Club Shop, with a percentage of the sale to go to MHF.

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