A PEP talk from Knights legend Danny Buderus has inspired his modern-day counterparts as they prepare for their first clash with Parramatta at ANZ Stadium since the 2001 grand final.
Buderus was one of Newcastle’s heroes in their title triumph against the Eels, and on Thursday he shared his memories and a video presentation with the Knights before they boarded the team bus to Sydney for Friday’s showdown at the Olympic stadium.
As was the case 16 years ago, Newcastle will be long-shot underdogs but they have taken heart from Buderus’s fond memories of the greatest night of his career.
“The last time we played [Parramatta] there was 2001, the grand final, and what great memories that was,’’ Newcastle co-captain Sione Mata’utia said on Thursday.
“We had a look at some highlights [of the grand final] and it definitely it made the boys pretty keen to hurry up and get to the game.
“He [Buderus] definitely had some little stories to talk about … they definitely were confident to win, and we want to take that mindset down to Sydney.’’
The Knights are full of self-belief after back-to-back wins against St George Illawarra and the Warriors, but they could discover the Eels are a step up in class.
Parramatta are the form team in the competition after winning six consecutive games, and eight of their past nine.
They have climbed to fifth on the ladder, equal on points with Brisbane and Cronulla and only two points behind second-placed Sydney Roosters.
With four rounds remaining, they appear certainties to feature in the play-offs for the first time since 2009.
The Eels are using ANZ Stadium as a temporary home base while Parramatta Stadium is being redeveloped and have won nine of their past 10 games there.
The Knights, meanwhile, are desperate to end a cursed run of 23 losses away from home, dating back to round 24 of the 2015 season.
They lost all 12 games on the road last season and so far have been unsuccessful in 10 out of 10 this year.
“Yeah, our away record hasn’t been good, and at the back of our heads we’d like to have a good game away,’’ Mata’utia said.
“But it starts from our own performances first. We’ve got to try and nail the game plan, which is going to put us in good stead to win.’’
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