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Taia and De Gois cleared for Knights

11/09/2009 05:13:01 PM Comments (0)

Newcastle hooker Isaac De Gois remains sceptical he will be fit to play in Saturday's NRL qualifying final with the Bulldogs despite passing a thorough fitness test on his injured knee on Friday.

De Gois and second-rower Zeb Taia (shoulder) were both given the green light to face the Bulldogs in the must-win clash at ANZ Stadium, but the former Cronulla rake says he is uncertain if his knee will recover from the full contact session after less than a week of physiotherapy.

"I will just wait to see how it feels in the morning and then me and (coach Rick Stone) will have a chat and we will go from there," said De Gois.

"We have to see how it pulls up. If it's a bit sore I will get some physio. It's not 100 per cent yet.

"I don't want to miss semi-finals."

The Bulldogs doubt whether De Gois will play. He damaged lateral ligaments only last Sunday and they are expecting either Matt Hilder or George Ndaira to start at hooker.

Newcastle coach Rick Stone admitted he was as surprised as anybody both Taia and De Gois were passed fit and insisted he wasn't playing mind games by declaring them both right to play.

"We are not really going in with anything to hide," he said.

"It's fair to say I am surprised. Earlier in the week I didn't give either of them much of a chance.

"(But) they've come through with flying colours so we're really happy about that and it's a huge boost to the team."

The inclusion of De Gois is especially crucial as they face Dally M hooker of the year Michael Ennis, the man rated the biggest danger in the Bulldogs side with halfback Brett Kimmorley still out injured.

"With Kimmorley out he takes a greater responsibility with the Bulldogs attack. We will definitely take a close look at him," said Stone.

Stone admitted his side would test the Bulldogs by throwing the ball around, as the Tigers did last week, but second-rower Steve Simpson knows the onus is on the forwards to win the game for Newcastle.

"We obviously have to dominate their pack or at least stay even with them," Simpson said.

"If they get over the top of us they win the game, it's as simple as that."

An 11-year veteran, premiership winner and former Test forward, Simpson said he wasn't concerned about the lack of finals experience in his side or the fact they're rated massive underdogs for the game.

"To be honest experience doesn't count for much when you're out there," he said.

"You really just have to hook in and get the job done.

"I said to a few of the boys during the week, they've all been playing since they were six or seven years old, I said nothing changes too much.

"We still go out and do the same thing. We just have to lift a peg or two.

"To be honest the underdog thing is good, but it means nothing when you get out there playing.

"It's an even field, everyone starts at nil-all and you have 17 players in each side.

"I think we have enough talent and enough players who have played a few games to settle us if we get a bit rattled.

"I think we go in really confident and if we play well I think we will get the game."

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