Knights seek revenge and rep jerseys - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Knights seek revenge and rep jerseys

By Todd Balym 09/05/2009 12:31:27 PM Comments (0)

It's hard to escape the three Rs on Newcastle's mind heading into Sunday's NRL clash with the Gold Coast at EnergyAustralia Stadium.

Revenge, rep jerseys and records.

The Knights haven't forgotten their round one loss to the Titans on the Gold Coast when they led 16-0 after half an hour only to lose 34-20 in searing heat.

The representative season has begun and the Knights have Kurt Gidley, Jarrod Mullen, James McManus all backing up from rep duty while the Titans have Luke Bailey, Anthony Laffranchi and Mark Minichiello also playing their second game in three days.

All six players are vying for NSW State of Origin selection in the coming weeks.

And the Knights are seeking a record-equalling eighth successive win at home - matching the feats of the Andrew Johns led teams of 1995 and 1999.

Newcastle coach Brian Smith will finalise his team after a training session late on Saturday, but he is certain the team will have the memory of their trip to Queensland in round one in their heads when they clash with the competition front runners.

"We would certainly like to get square about that," said Smith.

"We were disappointed they were able to finish over the top of us in that game.

"They're playing on our patch this time, I hope our boys bear that in mind if we get into the lead early in the game.

"We need to keep our foot on the pedal."

Gold Coast's rep trio have all been cleared for the trip to Newcastle, with Laffranchi and Bailey coming through Australia's 38-10 win over New Zealand unscathed and Minichiello buoyed by his two-try heroics in City's 40-18 win over Country.

Interchange prop Aaron Cannings has been ruled out of the trip with a knee injury, with utility Josh Graham to fill the vacant spot on the bench.

Former Test prop Brad Meyers said that the rest of the forward pack would still have to lift this week to help carry the workload of the tired trio.

"Depending on how they pull up it's going to fall on the rest of us to pick it up because they're guys that do a lot of work," said Meyers.

"We all have to step it up again."

Sunday's clash represents another ideal opportunity for Jarrod Mullen to push his case for a NSW recall as he will confront Queensland halfback understudy Scott Prince.

Mullen was out-played by City man of the match Peter Wallace in Orange on Friday night but will still come under serious consideration as a Blues five-eighth with Terry Campese in mixed form.

Mullen said he feels ready for a NSW recall, after debuting as an inexperienced halfback in 2007 with few NRL games under his belt.

"Obviously I feel a bit more experienced and have a lot more football under my belt and I think I'm better equipped for it now," he said.

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