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Wardle's next task: learning Knights team song

Newcastle Knights recruit Joe Wardle could be forgiven for not knowing the words to the team song after the win over the Canberra Raiders on Sunday.

It was the first time in the NRL Telstra Premiership the former Huddersfield Giant tasted victory on Australian shores after forcing his way into Nathan Brown's line-up back in Round 4. 

Wardle admitted learning the lyrics to the chant will need more work.

"I had no clue," Wardle told

"It's really quick and to be honest I'm still struggling to understand all the boys as it is.

"When they're all shouting I look around and got no clue of what's going on.

"I was given a bit of paper but even still it didn't help." 

Despite the 14-point win, the 25-year-old wanted a repeat performance when the Knights host the Penrith Panthers at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday.

"We're not going to get carried away, everything went our way [against the Raiders] and obviously we made it that way as well," he said.

"I was ecstatic with the win… absolutely ecstatic. There is no better feeling than winning and because we're a young squad, the more the boys can get used to this feeling the better it is for the club.

"We don't want it to be a one-off again and want to build and take it into this week and hopefully make it a turning time in our season."

With a Knights squad full of youth and inexperience, the move to the Hunter has forced the Scotland international to become a senior leader instantly.

"Honestly, I feel so old in this side," he joked.

"The average age is like 20 and when you look around, all there is are young kids.

"Especially when I'm all grown up with a family and all these lads are still single so it's madness.

"It's nice though obviously as well because they've all got plenty of enthusiasm and bring that into training and in games."

‌Newcastle will take on the Panthers for the second time in 2017 on Sunday after suffering a 40-0 thrashing at the foot of the mountains back in April – an NRL debut to forget for Wardle.

The Novocastrians' second home game in as many weeks will be their final clash in the Hunter before six weeks on the road in between two byes. 

"We might not even win on the scoreboard but as long as we're winning the ruck or in all the key areas we give ourselves a better chance every game," Wardle said.

"At the minute every week is massive whether it is home or away. 

"I've watched games over the last couple of years here so am familiar with the players and how they play.

"This week is the real test now."

After a move to the centres that allowed for Dane Gagai to shift back to the No.1 jersey, Wardle linked well with halfback Jaelen Feeney on the right edge.

Knights coach Brown has stuck with the same backline that contained the damaging Raiders outside backs, while lock Mitch Barnett has been named to make an early return from an ankle injury on Sunday. 

"It's nice when the hole in their defensive line just opens up for you… it makes it a lot more easier," Wardle said.

"To be fair we worked on that play all week at training so to pull that move off was icing on the cake. 

"I think we just really frustrated [the Raiders] by sticking to our game plan. Guys like [Jordan] Rapana and [Joey] Leilua couldn't get into the game at all for 80 minutes.

"It brings a lot of belief to the squad."


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