The Roar
The Roar


Knights juggernaut eyeing Roosters scalp

22nd September, 2013

They may be old and they may be tired, but momentum has Newcastle primed to snare the biggest scalp of all during their giant-killing run through the NRL finals.

Having taken care of 2012 grand finalists Canterbury in the opening week of the finals, the Knights dumped premiers Melbourne out of the race for the title on the weekend – and now have minor premiers Sydney Roosters in their sights on Saturday night.

The Roosters have taken all before them during a dominant run through the regular season, but under master coach Wayne Bennett – the most successful coach in NRL history with seven titles to his name – the Knights are timing their run brilliantly.

“The Knights have really found some momentum,” beaten Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy told ABC Radio.

“The way they’re going at the moment, they look like they’re getting a little bit better every week.

“So you think they’re going to be a bit better next week. If they’re a bit better next week than they were this week, they’re going to be real hard to beat.”

The Roosters will be fresh having enjoyed the week off, and they will get Jared Waerea-Hargreaves back from suspension and may have Boyd Cordner back on deck following ankle surgery.

Knights halfback Tyrone Roberts will have scans on a knee injury but is hopeful of being fit to play.

Speaking to ABC, Bennett channelled the wisdom of Chelsea football manager Jose Mourinho in analysing his side’s run to the last four of the competition.


“He (Mourinho) was saying he would like to start good, but if you don’t start good he’d rather start slow and finish good,” Bennett said.

“That’s my sentiments as well.

“Our last 11 weeks plus our two playoff games now have been our best football all season.

“We’re playing good footy at the right time of the year.”

Added veteran hooker Danny Buderus of the influence of Bennett:

“I’m enjoying the ride and living off Wayne’s energy – he lives for September.

“The team is going in the right direction under him.

“We’re a real happy bunch at the moment. We’re battle hardened and looking forward to next week.”


Should they beat the Roosters and make the grand final, the Knights would be just the second team since the top eight was brought in to make the decider from either seventh or eighth – the other being Parramatta in 2009.

Just four other sides have made it as far as the Knights after scraping into the finals.

Injuries seem to be the main topic heading into the other preliminary final, with South Sydney hosting Manly on Friday night at ANZ Stadium.

The Rabbitohs have enjoyed the benefit of giving Greg Inglis a week off as he continues to battle a knee injury, while recovery is the buzz word for the Sea Eagles after two brutal finals encounters.

Manly coach Geoff Toovey said he was confident Anthony Watmough (knee) would be fit to play, while he was also hopeful of having fullback Brett Stewart (hamstring) back on deck for the first time since round 25.