Pivotal month looms for Knights - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Pivotal month looms for Knights

Joe Barton 14/05/2011 01:23:48 PM Comments (0)

Newcastle have highlighted the next month of NRL, starting with Sunday's clash with the Warriors, as the most pivotal in their season.

The Knights have overcome a horror injury toll to be right in the thick of the top eight battle with four wins from eight games, and winger James McManus believes the key to contending for the title this year could come down to the results they can generate before their bye in round 14.

"It's definitely an important period for us, we'd like to get four from four but we've certainly got to come up with a few wins (before the bye)," McManus told AAP.

The Knights finish the season with eight of their final 12 games to be played at Ausgrid Stadium, which McManus hopes will help them generate momentum coming into the finals.

"I guess if we can get a few wins here we've got a pretty decent run home," he said.

"It makes it interesting to look at the back end of the comp if we get a few wins in the next few weeks.

"We were pretty close against St George and pretty close against the Broncos as well.

"We can certainly compete with those teams and if we get a few blokes back from injury we can put the heat on some teams that are at the top of the comp at the moment."

Injury has cruelled the Knights all season, with skipper Kurt Gidley (shoulder) just one of the high-profile stars still sidelined, but McManus has so far been able to stay fit.

It's a special achievement considering the awful run the former NSW winger has overcome in the past two seasons - with foot injuries derailing the past 18 months of his career.

But after his first clean pre-season since 2007, McManus feels like he is playing better football than when he made his State of Origin debut in 2009.

"I'm playing better now than I was back then, for sure, but there's obviously other blokes who have gotten their start over the last 18 months while I've been injured," he added.

"But honestly after the last 18 months that I've had I'm just happy to be playing football.

One player putting his hand up for an Origin wing spot is McManus' Newcastle teammate Akuila Uate, who will get one final chance to impress Blues coach Ricky Stuart when he goes head-to-head in a mouthwatering clash with Warriors giant Manu Vatuvei.

"He's knocking on the door for Origin and he can put another good performance in to help his cause there," McManus said.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2024 AAP

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