'Their team probably revolves around how he plays'

Limit Ashley Taylor's influence.

That's the key.

The nib Newcastle Knights host the Gold Coast at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday and both teams have plenty to play for.

According to coach Nathan Brown, the difference could rest on the shoulders of the Titans' No.7.

"Pretty much every time they win a game, he is one of their standout players," Brown said.

"He is a very talented player and their team probably revolves around how he plays.


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"When he is on and up, they are generally winning games. If he has a bit of an off day, it makes it a lot harder.

"I think he is leading try assists and that on its own says a fair amount and I think last year, he had the most try assists in the competition.

"He is not playing in a side sitting in the top four so anytime a halfback can have as many try assists as that, it probably shows the natural talent he's got whether it be kicking, running or passing.


"He's got the all-round ability to challenge sides in all areas – he doesn't rely on one or the other.

"Obviously, we need to do a really good job on the forwards in particular to give ourselves a good chance of not giving him too much time and room."

Taylor leads the NRL in try assists and his short kicking game has secured his troops nine line-drop outs.

It makes for a mouth-watering match-up against Mitchell Pearce.

The Knights halfback is one of the best kickers in the game and sure to improve on his performance in his return after a lengthy injury-layoff.


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Having regained Pearce and Daniel Saifiti, the Knights also welcome back Lachlan Fitzgibbon who returns after serving a two-game suspension.

Unfortunately for the backrower, a representative round and bye means he hasn't played a game in almost five weeks.

Now, he's itching to have a run.

"It's been a long four weeks," Fitzgibbon said.

"It's been hard watching on the sidelines. It feels like an eternity."