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Knights prop Daniel Saifiti.

Daniel Saifiti says a 20-0 win over the Warriors was Newcastle's reward for a strong summer but they mustn't let the momentum slip like in previous years.

The Knights were round-one winners last season and proceeded to lose five straight, while in 2018 they won back-to-back matches to open their campaign and then dropped the next two.

It's why the Novocastrians aren't getting carried away despite sitting atop the table heading into Sunday's round-two clash with the fourth-placed Wests Tigers at Leichhardt Oval.

"The last three years we've always played well in round one. It's more after that we have to focus on too," Saifiti said, before praising the team's first-up effort under new NRL coach Adam O'Brien.

"On the weekend, I just feel like everything we practised in the pre-season came to fruition. We've been really focused on our defence.

"Since I've been here, this is my fifth year, we've never held a team to zero … Adam, I'm happy for him as well because of the work he's put into us."

Daniel Saifiti crawls his way over

Saifiti, who made his NSW Origin debut in 2019, said it's imperative for Newcastle's pack to stand up against the Tigers big men, who were impressive in a win versus the Dragons.

"You've got to make it personal every week, that's one thing I learned from last year," the prop said.

"You don't single out one player – it's sort of cliché but getting over the opposition's forward pack goes a long way to winning a game. It's 100% true."

And while David Klemmer is undoubtedly the Knights' leader up front, Saifiti and lock Herman Ese'ese are looking to ease the burden on the international enforcer.

Klemmer made 158m, 18 runs and 30 tackles in 49 minutes in round one, with Saifiti (115m, 11 runs, 22 tackles, 34 mins) and Ese'ese (66m, eight runs, 10 tackles, 25 mins) playing support roles.

"This year's a bit different for Klem, I feel like we shared the workload early on [in round one] and took a bit of pressure off him," Saifiti said.

"Me, Klem and Herman have a good combination together. Klem's got an engine, he’ll go all day, and me and Herman are pretty similar in the way we carry the ball but Herman's a bit more explosive.

"We've all got pretty fast play-the-balls and we're all up to take carries as well."

Utility Connor Watson said playing in an empty stadium due to coronavirus lockouts "will be different" – but some Knights players experienced the lack of atmosphere not all that long ago.

"We had a trial against the Storm when I sort of first got here [in 2018] which was in front of no crowd down at AAMI Park [the Knights won 26-22]," Watson said.

Round 1 tackle of the week

"So a lot of the boys have actually done that before. It was different, and because it was a trial game it probably wasn't the intensity that it will be this weekend.

"Everyone is still going to watch, we've got to think about that. They're just not watching from there in the stadium. [We'll] probably just draw a bit more motivation from within. We all want to win."

Watson is comfortable in his new role as a roving interchange middle forward but said it was hard to gauge his attacking impact last Saturday in such a defence-orientated affair.

"It's good, it's something I did a little bit when I was at the Roosters," Watson said.

"If we get a dry track this weekend we'll probably see more of what I can do in that. I enjoyed it, I was happy with my defence.

"I've done plenty of defence in the middle so that's not an issue for me."