Knights not waiting for Wayne: Gidley - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Knights not waiting for Wayne: Gidley

Ben Horne 06/09/2011 05:05:33 PM Comments (0)

Newcastle chased after the world's best rugby league coach to bring success back to the steel city, but the Knights are looking to get a head start before Wayne Bennett even arrives.

Since Bennett announced he had signed with Newcastle in early April, the Knights have had to deal with all the hype, speculation and scrutiny that comes with snaring the NRL's most prized asset.

It was entirely possible the sizeable distraction, albeit a positive one, could destabilise the teams focus under current coach Rick Stone.

But Knights captain Kurt Gidley said there was a silent agreement made among the playing group to not wait for 2012 for their prayers to be answered.

Newcastle have toiled hard to qualify for the NRL top eight and they see an opportunity to make a pre-emptive strike before the Bennett empire begins.

"It wasn't hard at all, next year's next year and to be honest, no one in the playing group or at the club even spoke about next year," Gidley told AAP ahead of the Knights qualifying final against Melbourne, which for them is sudden death.

"It's (Bennett hype) all been media driven and they're the ones that have been talking about Wayne and the possibilities of next year and beyond.

"But from a playing group, we've been concentrating on this year and sticking around for as long as we can."

The Knights almost blew their eighth-placed finish over the final weeks of the competition, but pulled it out of the fire with last Friday's do-or-die win over South Sydney.

Most are expecting the Knights to be cannon fodder for the Storm at AAMI Park on Sunday, but Melbourne's misfortunes against Manly and the Sydney Roosters have opened a window for optimism.

Newcastle's achilles heel in recent weeks has been inexplicable lapses in defence.

Gidley has suffered at the hands of Storm trio Billy Slater, Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk countless times at State of Origin level, and believes he can have the Knights as well prepared as possible for their biggest test.

"Oh yeah, I've learnt plenty," former NSW skipper Gidley said of his regular nemesis from Queensland.

"I'm at fullback so they've got to break the first line of defence before they get to me, but I can certainly help those guys in the defensive line about getting the right numbers in the right spots and keeping it nice and tight around the ruck.

"If you're loose around the markers you can guarantee there will be a line break.

"Most of the time you can put (lapses) down to communication. Talking under fatigue is the key."

Newcastle admit there's relief at making the eight, but they're adamant they deserve their position and hold no fear for the Storm to come.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2020 AAP

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