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Weary Knights fire up for one last stand

THEY’RE wounded and weary and Knights coach Nathan Brown admits, realistically, they will be collecting the wooden spoon on Sunday afternoon.
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But he hopes his young troops can summon enough energy and inspiration to finish their season on a high note when they tackle premiers Cronulla at McDonald Jones Stadium.

REALISTIC: Nathan Brown.

After a three-game winning streak, consecutive losses to Melbourne (44-12) and Canberra (46-28) have left the Knights last by two points to Wests Tigers, and needing not only a win, but a 42-point turnaround on for-and-against statistics, to avoid finishing in the cellar for the third successive season.

“I’m pretty confident with where the Tigers sit and we sit, we’ll get the spoon,’’ Brown said.

But Brown said the Knights were “in a far different situation” to 12 months ago and “Ithink we should be excited that we can make some great strides next year.’’

Prop Daniel Saifiti (shoulder) and English import Joe Wardle (ankle) are both in doubt for Sunday, adding to a casualty list that includes Sione Mata’utia (concussion), Brock Lamb (knee), Josh Starling (neck), Luke Yates (knee), Anthony Tupou (hip) and Dylan Phythian (knee), as well as Rory Kostjasyn and Sam Mataora, who have both retired, and Tyler Randell, released to join Wakefield.

“I think we had 15 unavailable [against Canberra],’’ Brown said. “We got beat up pretty bad last week …we looked tired. It’s been a long year for a lot of our players.”

Brown was optimistic they would lift for Old Boys day.

“I’ll be hopeful with the long turnaround thatwe give the players a bit of time off, and freshen them up, and make a better account of ourselves next week,” he said.

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