Mullen on song for Knights - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Mullen on song for Knights

By Ben Horne 13/03/2011 09:35:59 PM Comments (0)

Newcastle emerged as potential surprise packets this NRL season after a dominant display by halfback Jarrod Mullen led them to a 42-8 thrashing of Penrith on Sunday.

While the Knights can't get too carried away given the Panthers' inept performance, the Knights can take plenty of confidence from a fluent attacking display which proved there is plenty of top eight hope in the Novocastrians.

Coach Rick Stone couldn't have asked for a better performance first up but will be losing sleep over injuries to Neville Costigan (suspected broken arm) and captain Kurt Gidley (back spasm).

Mullen started the season with one of his most clinical efforts in first grade, scoring a try and laying on a couple of others - including one for his debutant halves partner, Beau Henry in the second half. The 23-year-old playmaker said his challenge is to find consistency this season.

"I've had a bit of pressure on me the last couple of years to put in some good performances and consistency has let me down," he said.

"But I've been working really hard with the coaches and I'm maturing as a player.

"I've played over 100 first grade games now so it's just time for me to play consistently every week and if I do that I'm sure we'll win some more games."

Mullen's kicking game ensured the Knights enjoyed quality field position all match, while his combinations with Gidley, Henry and Isaac De Gois looked sharp.

Coach Rick Stone said Mullen was clearly the best player on the park.

"Outstanding. Jarrod's kicking game today, how he controlled the sets and putting the ball into touch at the right times just shows the better maturity and feel for the game he's getting," Stone said.

"I thought it was a real halfback's knock and put a real stamp on the affair."

Knights game-breakers Junior Sau and Akuila Uate were also on their game.

Sau scored twice and Uate once, while Gidley and Hilder also got in on the action.

Stone said post-match that Gidley is a chance for round two, but things don't look so good for Costigan who is expected to miss up to two months of football.

"We were the dominant side and the score reflected the situation," said Stone.

"Probably at times Penrith made us look a little better than we were - they weren't anywhere near their best - but we've been working on a good, relentless 80-minute performance.

"We showed a few things today ... although one swallow doesn't make a summer."

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