Newton's important Knights role
Ahead of his retirement at season's end, veteran Knights back-rower Clint Newton sees his role as NSW Cup captain as a great responsibility, despite his successful return to the NRL last weekend.
There were plenty of raised eyebrows when Newton was selected by Newcastle coach Rick Stone to play ahead of young-gun forwards Joe Tapine and Paterika Vaivai against the Titans, but as the 34-year-old said it's just the nature of paving the way for his younger teammates.
Taking over the captaincy from the retired Matt Hilder this season in the second-tier competition, Newton hopes to help the club's youngsters the best he can in his remaining few weeks at the club.
"I take [the captaincy] very seriously – not only do I want to play well for myself but as I've said to plenty before I get a great deal of satisfaction watching some of the young guys come through and play well," Newton told NRL.com.
"They're certainly not the finished product yet but I'd like to think I've had a positive influence on them and that's why I've been here for and hopefully they can say that I've helped them in some way to be not just a better player, but a better person as well.
"That's really important to me and whatever grade I play for the rest of the season it's going to be no different. I know my role and I know what I have to bring and that's not going to change."
Named to play just his sixth first grade game since returning to the club at the beginning of last year this weekend against the Rabbitohs, Newton said the remainder of the year for him is a matter of doing himself, his family and the Newcastle faithful proud.
Considering Newcastle have lost 11 of their past 13 games, their much-needed victory over the Gold Coast is nothing to get carried away about.
"We have certainly been a team which has underperformed, there's no doubt about that. The fans know that and we know that, and it's just about being accountable and not having any excuses. That's the main thing," Newton said.
"I still believe if you train hard, play hard and never give up you're going to be in every game, and we haven't done that. So [beating the Titans] was the first step forward. They are obviously in a similar position to us and they're not playing great footy but we still had to turn up.
"But we certainly moved in the right direction. We still have to look at these games like a loss sometimes though. So we have to be super critical and make sure our standards are being upheld.
"We'll roll into [the Rabbitohs game] and try to be better, and put in a performance where you're going to give yourself a chance to win. The result is irrelevant as long as we're making ourselves proud."