Newcastle Knights vs Penrith Panthers Live Stream, TV Channel, Tickets & Preview NRL 2018 Full HD
After a promising adjustment to life without their injured star halfback, the Knights were dealt a harsh reality check against South Sydney last Friday night.
Beaten to the punch by the Rabbitohs from the opening minutes, a poor performance in the middle and the absence of Mitchell Pearce’s on-field composure overshadowed glimpses of a spirited fight back.
While it may seem overly critical to expect a 20-year-old with 11 first grade games to perform to the same standard as a premiership winning playmaker, the choices taken by Jack Cogger and halves partner Connor Watson demonstrated the further development needed in both of their games.
Whether kicking directly to the opposition fullback or being collected on the last tackle without enacting a productive attacking option, the issue for the Knights moving forward will be how the side bounces back from adversity during matches to ensure that their flourishing attack isn’t diminished by lacklustre defence.
Coming into Friday’s clash with the Panthers outside the top eight as a result of a poor for-and-against record, the need to start strongly and remain committed in defence will be at forefront of Nathan Brown’s directive to his players.
Holding an underwhelming record against Penrith in recent seasons, Newcastle will be hopeful of building upon a recent trend which has seen the Red and Blue lead at halftime in 10 of the past 12 meetings, while struggling to go on with the job in the second 40 minutes.