The Knights coach admitted it was an ugly game against the Tigers, but after the week of off-field controversy and headlines, he said it…
Sydney Roosters skipper Anthony Minichiello admits Newcastle’s momentum is a major concern for the competition favourites heading into Saturday night’s preliminary final at Allianz Stadium.
The Knights have emerged as the giant-killers of the NRL finals, having taken out both of last year’s grand finalists in the opening two weeks of the finals – and they now have their sight set on the big scalp of the Roosters.
“It’s (momentum) a big factor because they’re playing with a bit of confidence, momentum going into the final,” Minichiello said.
“They’ve won a lot of games now and we’re coming off a break.
“We watched the game (the Knights’ win over Melbourne) and Newcastle deserved to win. They played just that little bit better on the night.”
Asked for the secret to the Knights’ last season surge, Minichiello said: “They’re very well coached, you know what Wayne Bennett’s like as a coach, I’ve experienced his coaching, he’s a great coach, one of the best of all time.
“They’re hitting their straps at the right time – we have to make sure that we’re prepared well for Saturday night.”
The week off has given the Roosters a chance to freshen up and give their forward stocks a boost, with Minichiello rating NSW Origin backrower Boyd Cordner a decent chance of returning from ankle surgery for the clash.
Cordner hasn’t played since round 25, and at the time was considered an outside chance of returning for the grand final if the Roosters went that far.
But his rehabilitation has gone better than expected, with Minichiello revealing he wouldn’t be surprised if the young forward is back on deck on Saturday night.
“He’s looking okay,” Minichiello said.
“I haven’t spoken to him in detail today. I think he’s had a run and he seems okay.
“It’ll be a boost if he can come back.”