No-nonsense forward Jack Stockwell wants to just keep doing his job for the Newcastle Knights.
And knowing he has the backing of his bosses has made all the difference in 2017
Stockwell was named on Tuesday on the Knights’ bench in a 21-man squad to take on North Queensland at Townsville on Saturday. Anthony Tupou was picked to return on the extended bench to replace the injured Joe Wardle, who started in the second row last Friday night against the Roosters after Jamie Buhrer broke his foot at training. Sam Stone moves into the starting side against the Cowboys for Wardle. Josh King and Lachlan Fitzgibbon were added to the extended bench.
For 25-year-old Stockwell, selection continues a strong start to 2017. He has featured in every match this season after playing only six games last year. So much out of favour was Stockwell in 2016 that Newcastle looked to off-load him halfway through his three-year contract.
However, losses in Newcastle’s forward stocks and a determined pre-season from the former Australian Schoolboy have helped turn around his fortunes.
“Obviously you can’t dwell too much on what happened last year,” Stockwell said.
“I just kind of had the mentality that I had to put it in the past and what happened, happened. If you think on it too much it’s just going to affect all your mentality and how you are physically as well.
“My goal in the pre-season was just don’t worry about it, and that’s what I’ve taken into this year so far, and I haven’t thought about it at all.
“I thought I haven’t started the year too badly, like I said, I want to keep building on that. But it’s good to have that boost in confidence and know I’ve got the trust of that coaching staff to do the job and that’s all I want to do. I just want to do my job.”
The Knights, beaten 24-6 by the Roosters last round, have just one win from seven games but meet a Cowboys side reeling from back-to-back defeats and the loss of Test stars Johnathan Thurston and Matt Scott to injury.
”Obviously they haven’t had the best couple of weeks but I think we still need to be on guard,” Stockwell said.
“They are obviously a very good team. Not having JT and Matty Scott there is certainly a blow to them but I reckon they will bounce back this week and we’ve got to be prepared.”
North Queensland named winger Antonio Winterstein to return against Newcastle from an arm injury suffered in round two. The Cowboys also announced John Asiata and Michael Morgan would swap positions in the halves. The Knights’ star signing for 2018, Kalyn Ponga, was named at fullback.