Knights focus on semi-final football

IN-form Knights centre Dane Gagai admitted this morning that semi-final football is now on the minds of his Newcastle teammates.

Yesterday’s 36-6 victory over the Raiders at Canberra Stadium, the Knights’ fifth in their past six matches, propelled them to the doorstep of the NRL top eight.

Gold Coast, Knights, Wests Tigers and St George-Illawarra are all log-jammed on 22 points, with the Titans hanging precariously onto eighth spot from Newcastle due to a superior points differential on just two.

‘‘It’s always going to be in your mind to get in the top eight and you always want to be playing in the finals and not sitting back watching it at home,’’ Gagai said at the team’s recovery session this morning.

‘‘It does come up in your mind a bit, but our main goal is to take it week by week and just try to win every game from here and the Bulldogs is going to be our next challenge.’’

The Knights’ resurgence will face their toughest challenge yet on Saturday night when they host the competition-leading Canterbury Bulldogs at Hunter Stadium.

Canterbury are on a nine-game winning streak and are favourites to win the premiership.

Gagai will face his own personal challenge as we will likely mark NSW Origin centre Josh Morris.

‘‘He’s a good player, but I’ve got quality guys marking inside me in [Knights five-eighth Jarrod] Mullen so I trust the inside man and he’ll help me out a lot there,’’ he said.

‘‘I’ve come up against some pretty good centres, so hopefully that will help me out a lot going into the game.’’

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