Newcastle captain Mitchell Pearce and the mighty Winx.
Newcastle captain Mitchell Pearce and the mighty Winx.

Knights draw Winx-spiration ahead of season opener

Barrier trials don't count as Winx's wins and the Newcastle Knights have taken comfort in that.

After copping a 30-6 drubbing from their round one opponents Cronulla at Maitland 10 days ago, they've banished any negativity from that scoreline with the knowledge winning matters from this week.

"It was a bit down. You don't want to lose like that or put in a performance like that," Knights back-rower Sione Mata'utia said.

"In saying that, it is a trial. Someone said, Winx doesn't win trials, when it comes to main racing she wins it (then).

"It was a learning curve and Junior (Mitchell Pearce) said it's a good lesson that footy is pretty tough."

The wake-up call made the Knights players realise that their new-look roster didn't mean victory was a given.

They also have no concerns about Kalyn Ponga's move to five-eighth, despite the new combinations not firing during the trials.

"Just because we have the team on paper doesn't mean it's going to happen," Mata'utia said.

"Everyone has been talking about the Knights and it could be one of those things where we needed to focus on us.

"We knew after the trial there would be things said about Kalyn in the six position, but in the inner circle we have all the trust and faith in KP to get better.

"He was killing it at training … There's a lot of work on but there are plenty of positives."

 

Much of the Knights’ potential success will revolve around star Kalyn Ponga’s transition to the halves. Picture: Getty
Much of the Knights’ potential success will revolve around star Kalyn Ponga’s transition to the halves. Picture: Getty

Mata'utia was unsure of where he would be play come Friday, if he plays at all.

He played centre during the trials but has trained there and in the second row and coach Nathan Brown was keeping his players in the dark as long as possible before teams were to be named on Tuesday.

It's the first season in a few years the 22-year-old hasn't been guaranteed a spot in the 17. He wasn't concerned though having already gained personally and professionally because of the changes to the squad.

"Somewhere in there but I don't even know if I'm playing first grade yet. I'll just bide my time and be patient," he said.

"It's very different to the last few years. We've been challenged for our spots and it's a different feeling and to be honest it's changed me as a player and how I look at training and my off-field definitely has been the biggest part of it as well.

"It's been a blessing in disguise and been a big learning curve, it's definitely a turning point of my career if I was to look into the future."

News Corp Australia


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