Lillyman: 'We seem like a different team'
Special and inspiring plays; that's what's bringing the team together according to veteran forward Jacob Lillyman.
There's no surprise what the 34-year-old was referring to... the most notable inclusion in the nib Newcastle Knights' clash against the Sydney Roosters, being Slade Griffin's first-class try saving hit on Isaac Liu.
"Yeah that was unreal," Lillyman smiled.
"Big play at certainly the right time. It certainly lifted the boys, everyone was pretty happy with it and certainly saved a try, so a massive play from him.
"That's probably what we've been lacking is those special plays... doing whatever it takes to stop tries and Slade certainly put his hand up there and got a result for it."
But the Knights defensive attributes have been a work in progress and the fruits of their labour at training are slowly starting to make an impact.
"While we didn't get the result on the weekend, there were certainly a lot of positives," Lillyman added.
"Our defence has really improved. For the most part on Saturday against the Roosters we handled that alright, but there were a few areas where we came up a bit short; they got a couple of easy tries, but it was still a solid performance.
"There's definitely been a real focus on our defence for the last couple of months, and we're improving that area of our game and starting to see the sights of that."
The Knights forward went as far as to say, the last few weeks they've almost become a different team out on the paddock.
"We certainly seem like a different team to earlier matches... we've improved in some areas," he said.
Tougher challenges don't come more so than the Melbourne Storm at McDonald Jones Stadium this Sunday.
Sitting fifth with eight wins this season, the reigning premiers have only conceded 205 points to the Knights 297 this season.
And... Melbourne playmaker Billy Slater will be back to occupy the number one jersey along with Will Chambers who will return after missing last week's win.
"They're always tough, the Storm. They've been a quality side for a very long time and they bring nothing less than their best," Lillyman commented.
"They had a good win against the Broncos last week and it will certainly be a big test for us, but we're really looking forward to it."
The key to disrupting their polished performance.... Lillyman believes that starts with their completion rate.
You have to compete really well because if you give them too many opportunities, they're too good at taking them," said Lillyman.
"Defensively, they certainly throw a lot at you so you've got to aim up there and really try to match them in that part of the battle.
"We'd like to think we've built a little confidence defensively so it's something we're looking forward to."
Lillyman knows there's no better time than the presence to bring the fans at home another inspiring victory.
"The week off is coming at the right time. We've got a few boys that are wounded and busted and a few that are ready to come back, so to get a win going into that week off will be massive," Lillyman explained.
"We can't focus too much on the end result, we've just got to get out there and put in another good performance."
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