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Under-fire Knights face improving Tigers

3 minute read

Newcastle will be out to put a four-game losing run and a controversial week behind them when they travel to take on the last-placed Wests Tigers on Sunday.

DAVID KLEMMER.
DAVID KLEMMER. Picture: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Newcastle get the chance to put a tumultuous week behind them when they take on the resurgent Wests Tigers in their NRL cellar clash at Campbelltown on Sunday.

Seven days on from a lamentable 24-10 loss to Canterbury that saw under-fire coach Adam O'Brien deliver an impassioned defence of his job while David Klemmer attracted headlines after verbally abusing a trainer when refusing to be substituted, the Knights finally get back on the field.

They won't have prop Klemmer, who received a suspended fine from the club and was stood down for this week, or star fullback Kalyn Ponga who remains sidelined following his series of concussions.

Newcastle's recently-appointed football director Peter Parr admitted there'd been distractions for the side but expected they would perform well once out on the field.

"It's always in the back of your mind that any sort of disruption could have a negative impact on the team - I haven't seen that," Parr told reporters.

"They have been well versed in exactly what's been going on. They've had clear communication all week ... if enthusiasm and energy at a training session is any indication of how you play on the weekend, then I expect they'll play well."

The Tigers are fresh from rolling through Brisbane 32-18 to snap their seven-game losing streak and have looked more competitive in recent weeks particularly with the rise of Adam Doueihi at five-eighth.

They lose Jackson Hastings though, joining fellow half Luke Brooks on the sidelines due to a fractured fibula.

While neither side will play finals, it shapes as a particularly important clash for the Knights to show they won't let their season completely fall apart without a whimper.

"I haven't been involved in an NRL game that isn't important ... we obviously haven't been playing our best football of late and whenever you're not playing your best football, you're always determined to turn that around and play better," Parr said.

"I expect we will play well. I'm expecting that our best football, if we can play, will be good enough to win."

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