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Brown's 'better team' ready for big test

If it seems like only a few weeks since the Knights played the Dragons… you’d be right!

Newcastle last played the Red V at home in Round 4.

It was that heartbreaking one-point loss. Rather one to forget.

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But there’s nothing better than a re-match soon after to turn the result.

The red and blue will go regional to play the Dragons yet again, at Mudgee this time.

Coach Nathan Brown is hopeful his men can continue their on the road record and make it four on the trot.

One thing he’s sure of…. They’re a better team this time round.

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“Certainly, playing with a little more confidence than we were back then,” Brown admitted.

“For us the road trips seem to be going reasonably well.”

The good news, there’s a few more exclusions from the opposing team.

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“The Dragons have lost one or two key players which I feel has had a bit of an impact on their results in the last couple of weeks,” Brown said.

But Brown knows without a doubt, the Dragons are still a massive threat.

“The pending return of (Jack) De Bellin,” added Brown.

“This week will be a big test if Jack De Bellin does return, it will probably be the best pack available this year.

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“The way their forwards are playing, our forward pack is going to need to be at its best to give us a good opportunity.”

Despite a few injuries, with Edrick Lee and Connor Watson both suffering leg injuries, there’s confidence they’ll be available to play come Sunday.

Lucky for Brown he has versatility in his squad, with Kurt Mann able to fill either spots if need be.

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‘Kurt can play lots of spots as we saw on the weekend, he played lock then he played wing and did them both very well,” Brown commented.

“Kurt’s versatility opens the door for other people in reserve grade as well.”

Brown considers the Dragons encounter to be a big game for the Knights.

Victory to set them up for the run of tough encounters ahead.

“The Dragons will obviously start favourites and if we could do a good job and get a good result, it sets us up for a home clash against the Roosters which will be a big one for the home fans,” he said.

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“We want fine form going into a bye and then the next four games are tough.

“You want to go into a bye winning games and playing well.

“They’re all pretty much the top four from last year or near enough to the top four.

“It will be a really good test for us.”