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D-Saf and Watson keeping focus on footy

There’s so much uncertainty about what the future holds but one thing the nib Newcastle Knights squad do know for sure is two competition points are up for grabs this weekend, and they’re focused on doing everything they can to attain them.  

The Knights will head to Leichhardt Oval this Sunday, and although it won’t be the packed-out spectacle they were initially expecting, the team is still preparing for a tough battle against a Tigers side riding high after a win.

While playing in empty stadiums is an unprecedented situation, the players have made it clear they’re soldiering on.

Prop forward Daniel Saifiti spoke of his disbelief of what was happening in the world but confirmed the team’s concentration wouldn’t stray as they look to continue building on a successful Round One.  

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“It’s a bit crazy,” Saifiti said.

“It’s going to be a bit weird this week playing at Leichhardt. It would have been packed.

“I’ve always had the mindset that if it’s out of my control, there’s no point worrying about it.

“We can’t control it. What we can control is how we play on the weekend and that’s about it.

Dynamic utility Connor Watson echoed the thoughts of his teammate but was determined to keep the distractions out of the way of winning.

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The former Rooster was pleased that games were still going ahead and was confident he and his side would adjust to the new scenario of footy.  

“I didn’t think anything like this would happen in my lifetime,” Watson said.

“We just want to play footy…all that [COVID-19] stuff will sort itself out.

“Everyone’s still going to be watching. We’ve still got to think about that. They just won’t be in the stadium.

“Every team is going to play in front of no crowd. At the end of the day, two points is on the line and that’s all that matters for us. We want to win so we’ve got to go and do it.”

Currently sitting at the top of the ladder, the Knights are intent on creating a strong foundation to build on for 2020, especially in the defensive department.

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Last weekend marked the first time in six years that the team had kept an opposition scoreless and Watson admitted that showing that same kind of resilience throughout the year will be key.

“I thought we did a good job of just grinding out a win and doing what it takes to win,” he said.

“It instilled a bit of confidence that everything we’ve done so far is putting us in a good place for this year.”

Saifiti was a man that starred in the team’s victory over the Warriors and was the first try-scorer of both the game and season.

In addition to his try, he also ran for 115 of the forward pack’s 767 total metres, and the NSW State of Origin representative suggested the result could lie within that statistic again.

“Getting over the top of the opposition’s forward pack goes a long way to winning the game,” Saifiti said.

“On the weekend, I feel like everything we practiced in the pre-season came into fruition.

“You’ve got to make it personal every week.

“If we win that battle in the middle, it’ll give our classy players like Pearcey and KP a good chance to win the game.”