<META content=Word.Document name=ProgId> <META content="Microsoft Word 11" name=Generator> <META content="Microsoft Word 11" name=Originator><LINK href="file:///C:%5CDOCUME%7E1%5Cd362554%5CLOCALS%7E1%5CTemp%5Cmsohtml1%5C01%5Cclip_filelist.xml" rel=File-List><?xml:namespace prefix = o /><o:smarttagtype name="place" namespaceuri="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags"></o:smarttagtype><o:smarttagtype name="City" namespaceuri="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags"></o:smarttagtype><o:smarttagtype name="PlaceName" namespaceuri="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags"></o:smarttagtype><o:smarttagtype name="PlaceType" namespaceuri="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags"></o:smarttagtype> <OBJECT id=ieooui classid=clsid:38481807-CA0E-42D2-BF39-B33AF135CC4D></OBJECT> <STYLE> st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } </STYLE> <STYLE> <!-- /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:""; margin:0cm; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";} @page Section1 {size:612.0pt 792.0pt; margin:72.0pt 90.0pt 72.0pt 90.0pt; mso-header-margin:36.0pt; mso-footer-margin:36.0pt; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} --> </STYLE> <P class=MsoNormal>It’s been a big year thus far for the Newcastle Knights and their new hooker Isaac De Gois. After nine rounds they are sitting fourth on the ladder, two points off the lead and are genuine darkhorses in 2009.</P> <P class=MsoNormal><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></P> <P class=MsoNormal>Not bad for a side who have lost club legends Matt Gidley, Andrew Johns and Danny Buderus over the past three seasons.<SPAN>&nbsp; </SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></P> <P class=MsoNormal>And whilst Jarrod Mullen is showing his class in the halves, it‘s new hooker De Gois who has really stepped up, taking over from a man whose boots seemed impossible to fill. </P> <P class=MsoNormal><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></P> <P class=MsoNormal>De Gois admits as much, conceding he felt the pressure when he signed on from Cronulla at the end of 2008.</P> <P class=MsoNormal><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></P> <P class=MsoNormal>But those fears were soon allayed.</P> <P class=MsoNormal><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></P> <P class=MsoNormal>“The transition has been pretty easy, the boys, the coaching staff and the fans have been very welcoming and supportive so it’s been good.”</P> <P class=MsoNormal><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></P> <P class=MsoNormal>“There’s been a<SPAN>&nbsp; </SPAN>lot of pressure, Bedsy was the greatest hooker in the world but the club insisted they bought me to play as me, and not to try and replicate Danny’s game,<SPAN>&nbsp; </SPAN>and the boys have really played well and helped take the pressure off me and allowed me to do that.”</P> <P class=MsoNormal><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></P> <P class=MsoNormal>De Gois is doing that with style and hard work, playing well in attack and showing himself to be a leader in defence. As expected he has made more dummy half runs than anyone at the Knights, with 51, and is ranked eighth for line breaks, second for one-on-one tackles made and second in tackles made with 301, which isn’t a bad effort for a man of just 180cm and 85kg.</P> <P class=MsoNormal><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></P> <P class=MsoNormal>As a result of this work ethic he is reaping the rewards as the Knights rack up early season points and he racks up his own in the Dally M tally, with a top ten slot at the end of round eight.</P> <P class=MsoNormal><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></P> <P class=MsoNormal>However, the Knights rake is quick to give the credit elsewhere.</P> <P class=MsoNormal><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></P> <P class=MsoNormal>“Our forwards are doing a great job, but we have all started well and the early wins will be important at the end of a tough comp. Newcastle missed out on the eight by just two points last year and we don’t want that to happen again.</P> <P class=MsoNormal><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></P> <P class=MsoNormal>“As for the Dally M it’s great to be up there in the voting and all that, but I wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for the forwards leading the way for us.” </P> <P class=MsoNormal><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></P> <P class=MsoNormal>The <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 /><st1:city w:st="on">Newcastle</st1:city> pack once again led the way as the Knights exacted a measure of revenge on the Titans for their round one defeat yesterday, with Chris Houston and Zeb Taia doing plenty of hard work in the engine room with <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:city w:st="on">Houston</st1:city></st1:place> impressing with 33 tackles and 108 metres.</P> <P class=MsoNormal><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></P> <P class=MsoNormal>De Gois hadn’t forgotten the round 1 capitulation at <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placename w:st="on">Skilled</st1:placename> <st1:placetype w:st="on">Park</st1:placetype></st1:place> and neither had his teammates who were bent on revenge at EnergyAustralia Stadium, which they have turned into a fortress early this season taking four wins from as many games. A trend they hope to continue - <SPAN>&nbsp;</SPAN>making a trip up the F3 one to be feared for opposing teams.</P> <P class=MsoNormal><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></P> <P class=MsoNormal>“We spoke about making EnergyAustralia a place other teams don’t want to visit at the start of the season and making it a fortress, so hopefully we can continue to improve on our record.”</P> <P class=MsoNormal><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></P> <P class=MsoNormal>De Gois once again went about his job in his quiet manner at the weekend, ploughing through 28 tackles and 11 runs from dummy half.<BR><BR><st1:place w:st="on"><st1:city w:st="on">Newcastle</st1:city></st1:place> fans should keep their eyes on him. He may not be Danny Buderus… but his value to this Knights’ team can’t be understated.</P>