Being at fullback the last half-a-dozen games you get a fair view of all the different combinations unfolding in front of you.
Most importantly in recent outings for Newcastle they haven’t just been taking shape, they’ve been starting to click.
None more so than the halves pairing of Trent Hodkinson and Brock Lamb.
And while injury prevented me from watching them, and the team, close out the weekend’s victory over the Warriors live I always felt like the game was in safe hands.
They had both done a top job getting us into a 16-4 lead at half-time that I was confident, after learning some of the hard lessons handed out during 2017, they could guide us home for back-to-back wins in front of another passionate Knights crowd.
It’s like seeing the master and the apprentice at work.
Hodkinson the seasoned professional and Lamb the NRL rookie.
After a well-publicised mid-season stint in reserve grade Hodkinson has come back even better than before and provided the stability and experience you expect from a former NSW playmaker.
Lamb, who is still eligible for under 20s, has developed his running game and bounced back from recent criticism’s to play well beyond his years at pivotal moments.
Together they provide the boys with a platform to perform on and bounce off.
Take the weekend for example – opening try Lamb gives face ball past Hodkinson to barnstorming Mitch Barnett, Hodkinson coolly slotting penalty goals approaching the break, Hodkinson to a line-breaking Lamb before handing off to players’ player Lachlan Fitzgibbon on the hour mark and then Lamb sealing the result by backing up on the inside for a try of his own next to the sticks.
The dynamic duo had a part in most points and controlled their respective edges, but also made yards, indents and smart plays with their kicking game across the entire park.
This week with an extra skip in their, and everyone else’s, step hopefully the group can ride the high and make it three straight when they meet an in-form Parramatta Eels at the Olympic Stadium on Friday night.
I’ll be supporting from afar in recovery mode after enjoying some of the unexpected bonuses of being sidelined like Netflix and family time.
Most importantly in recent outings for Newcastle they haven’t just been taking shape, they’ve been starting to click."