McFadden wary of dangerous Knights

SARAH HARVEY
Last updated 15:26 14/08/2014
Andrew McFadden
Getty
WARY: Warriors coach Andrew McFadden says his side are expecting a "very tough" battle against the Knights in Newcastle on Sunday.

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The Warriors are wary of a resurgent Knights team and are expecting a ''very hard game'' in Newcastle on Sunday afternoon.

It could be easy for the Warriors to be complacent against a Knights team that sits 14th on the table having won just seven games and, a mathematical miracle aside, are all but out of contention for the top eight.

But at todays' training the side looked focused and committed to fixing mistakes made in the dour 16-12 win over the Sharks last Sunday.

Coach Andrew McFadden said it would be dangerous for the Warriors to think the Knights only had pride to play for, particularly after the Newcastle side's impressive win over the Storm in the last round.

''[The Knights] have still got plenty to play for, they are professionals and it is their home ground so we expect a very hard game. 

''Obviously it's a big test and it's an important game. Newcastle have still got a lot of quality and a lot of experience and obviously they have got a very experienced coach who knows how to get them up so we have got to prepare. We need to win.''

McFadden has made a number of changes to his starting lineup and admitted the mental side of the equation was important in the run home to the playoffs.

''It is a tough year but most of these guys are pretty battle hardened now.''

Forward Sebastine Ikahihifo who has been a regular starter will come off the bench this weekend after an off-colour performance against the Sharks.

''He has been terrific for us but you could just see some things in his game on the weekend that weren't where they had been. A freshen up will be good for him.''

McFadden said he was very pleased to have playmaker Shaun Johnson back in the side and said he came through full contact training without any pain to his groin injury. 

''He looked great, Shaun. He is 100 per cent and I am very happy he is back in the side. He has done all the work, done all the rehab, ticked all the boxes. He is ready to go.

''He is happy with his progress, he is feeling good and he has obviously slotted straight back.''

Johnson will also have another attacking option with Thomas Leuluai starting ahead of Nathan Friend at hooker.

''I think [Leuluai] will give us a bit of starch in defence as well, physically,'' McFadden said.

''He has obviously got some attributes in the offensive game as well.''

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