Captain Gidley key for wounded Knights - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Captain Gidley key for wounded Knights

By Ben Horne 30/07/2011 04:52:27 PM Comments (0)

With no sign of their injury battles disappearing in the lead up to the NRL finals, Newcastle are relying on the leadership of captain Kurt Gidley to keep them in the top eight.

Gidley himself is nursing niggling problems on a weekly basis, but against the Gold Coast at Ausgrid Stadium on Sunday, coach Rick Stone wants his general to show the way.

The Knights have scarcely been able to field the same team round to round all season, with key players like Gidley, Jarrod Mullen, Isaac De Gois, Neville Costigan, Evarn Tuimavave, Richie Fa'aoso and Wes Naiqama spending extended periods on the sidelines.

Fa'aoso is out with a hamstring injury, but in good news Tuimavave is back in the front row after being out with his own hamstring tear.

Mullen, who was in extreme doubt for the Titans clash after suffering further damage to his pectoral injury, got through Saturday's training session and is now expected to play.

Gidley, as always, has been in the wars with various injuries this season, but the skipper says he's as confident in his body as he can be at this stage of the year.

He will slot in at halfback if Mullen is out, with young gun Peter Matautia to come into the side at fullback.

The Knights haven't been pretty with their wins this season and that's unlikely to change against the Titans, but with the predicament they're in on the edge of the eight, results are all that matter.

NSW Origin mainstay Gidley says he must inspire his wounded warriors home against a Titans side desperate to rid themselves of the wooden spoon.

"I guess a bit of experience comes with that and a lot of enthusiasm. I've always been a pretty good talker on the field and if I can drive the other guys to play better and be a better player then I've done my job well," said Gidley, who promised the Knights wouldn't be taking their struggling opponents likely.

"No, I've certainly been on the wrong end of those sort of games in my career and it's a real trap any player can fall into - being complacent.

"We fell into that trap against the Cowboys two weeks ago."

Stone says Gidley hasn't let his teammates relax after their 18-0 win over Cronulla last week got them into eighth spot heading into round 21.

"I was pretty happy with the boys focus and resolve last week and application to the cause and we need the same sort of attitude this week and Kurt has really helped with that," Stone said.

"He really continued to keep the boys focused and challenged them to remain focused and disciplined as well, and we need the same again this week and reproduce that performance (against the Sharks) and possibly more to do the job this week."

The Titans have won just four matches this season and haven't tasted victory since round 14.

In a further setback, coach John Cartwright won't be with the team after he was admitted to hospital ahead of likely surgery to remove his appendix.

Assistant coaches Steve Murphy and Trevor Gillmeister will take over the reins.

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