Young Knights go back to basics

Keep it simple, schoolkids.

That’s the message for Newcastle’s most inexperienced team in club history when they open their NRL season against Gold Coast on Sunday.

A record five debutants will run out for the first time in the NRL against the Titans and, after watching the first few games of the season, veteran Robbie Rochow has urged them all not to overdo it in game one.

“If we try our hand too much in attack and make too many errors, you put yourself under way too much pressure,” Rochow told AAP.

“Round one’s hard enough, so if we play simple and aggressive, and control and compete really well, we’ll make it a lot easier for ourselves to get the result.”

Fullback Jaelen Feeney, brothers Jacob and Daniel Saifiti, David Bhana and Lachlan Gitzgibbon have all been blooded by new coach Nathan Brown.

A further five players have played less than 50 games as well, leading an analytical Brown to preach simplicity as the Knights aim to defy expectations of a rotten season.

“We do a lot of videos and reviews of the way we train and us, as a young and learning team, we have to,” Rochow said.

“As much as it might seem tedious, a bit long, that’s where we are as a group and we’ve got to learn about the game.

“We’re focusing on very simple, basic parts of the game initially and once we get that part of the game down pat, then we can look to get a bit more complex and look at game plans a bit more.”

Rochow, who with 66 games under his belt is now one of the team’s experienced players, said he has put more expectation on himself to lead the way for the side’s youngsters.

“I definitely think there’s a bit more pressure on me to perform every week and to make sure I’m setting a good standard here,” he said.

“And I expect that of myself as well. If that’s not the way I play, I know Browny will be quick to pull me in line or put me on the bench. But I’m looking forward to it.”

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