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Ross ready for Uate reunion

For nine years he called Newcastle home but on Friday night Akuila Uate will come face-to-face with the club that let him go when the Knights travel to the Northern Beaches to take on a red-hot Manly Sea Eagles side at Lottoland. 

The man who will line up against Newcastle's all-time leading try-scorer is Nathan Ross, a new fan favourite in the Hunter who recently earned his first representative jersey in the final City-Country fixture. 

Ross had an unhappy night against Melbourne last week with fellow Fijian international Suliasi Vunivalu and Storm centre Cheyse Blair dominating the Knights' usually more defensively-sound left edge with three tries between them.

As personal punishment, the 28-year-old spent some extra time out on the training paddock to address some of the errors from the Round 13 loss.

"I wasn't happy with my own personal performance so I've got a lot of improvement to do this week," Ross said.

"If there's an area of my game that I'm not quite happy with, I'll make sure I stay out there an extra 10 to 15 minutes and nail that on the head so when we're moving into next week I'm on top of it."

After telling in May of his disappointment about leaving the Knights in a sour fashion, Uate is set to head into the clash with extra motivation as the Sea Eagles look to make it seven straight wins against their old enemies. 


While Uate already has a strong career behind him, Ross's journey in the NRL Telstra Premiership has only just begun with the Coogee junior notching up just his 35th game on the weekend. 

Uate was one of the reasons for Ross's late start in the top grade after being stuck behind him for a number of years, but the Knights winger holds the former Australian international in high regard.

"I've got a lot of respect for Aku. When I was coming through the ranks he had a lot of time for me so I can't wait to go out there and show him some respectful competition," Ross said. 

"You won't meet a more kind, humble person than Aku. He is a man of God and is very respectful of his peers and his family. 

"He is pretty hard to tackle and has that low centre of balance so I'm going to have to fly in as hard as I can and then when I've got the ball look to cause him some dramas.

"There won't be any banter... we'll just let our football do the talking."

The task will not get easier for Ross down the right-side channel with Sea Eagles centre Dylan Walker having a stellar season alongside Uate with 14 tries between the centre-wing combination. 

Ross was confident however of containing the former State of Origin representatives despite their strong form.

"Dylan is in career-best form and is an electric player," he said.

"Pete [Mata'utia] and I should be able to solve what they throw at us. We shut down most edges. The weekend was obviously a bit different but I am quite confident in what Peter and I do."


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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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