Newcastle skipper Kurt Gidley has drawn a line in the sand, demanding his teammates forget their off-field dramas and get their season back on track.
Just days after the club allowed Joey Leilua to walk out the door, come revelations injured playmaker Jarrod Mullen could need season-ending surgery on his toe.
A matter-of-fact Gidley says he couldn’t care less about who is or isn’t lining up for Sunday afternoon’s clash against Cronulla – only that they get the task done.
“We’ve got a job to do this weekend and we need to draw a line in the sand and get our season back on track,” Gidley told AAP.
The Knights fullback said the club had already moved on after the release of an unhappy Leilua, who warmed up with his new Canberra teammates prior to their clash with North Queensland on Saturday afternoon.
“It was his decision to seek a release before June 30. The club’s granted that one. So we’ve just moved on with that now for the rest of the week and are concentrating on the squad we’ve got here now,” Gidley said.
He also said they had accepted the fact they could be without Mullen, who hasn’t played since Round 8, for the rest of the year.
“That was the first news that we heard about Mullo when he did his injury – that he’d be out for the rest of the year,” he said.
“We’re not sitting back waiting for him to come back at the moment.
“He’s out indefinitely and until we hear that he’s improved and he’s out there training with the team, we’ve just got to move on and keep going with the team we’ve got.”
More important to the Newcastle captain was the 44-22 pasting they copped in their last-start loss to Canberra that he described their worst defensive performance of the season.
“Obviously we’ve had plenty of things to work on. Probably defensively after our last game, it was our worst for the year unfortunately, against Canberra.”
STATS THAT MATTER
– The Knights have dominated this match recently, winning 11 of 16 against the Sharks since the beginning of 2006, their best record against any team in the period. They’ve also won eight of their past 10 encounters
– If the Knights concede 30 or more points it will be the first time in their history they have conceded 30 or more in three straight matches at Hunter Stadium.
– Shane Flanagan will coach his 93rd game for the Sharks to move ahead of Allan Fitzgibbon as the third most capped Sharks coach of all-time. Later this season he will become just the third coach behind John Lang (198 matches) and Tom Bishop (114 matches) to coach the Sharks in 100 matches.