Brown sorry for verbal attack on Bennett
Newcastle Knights coach Nathan Brown is satisfied he has put to rest any tension between him and Brisbane Broncos counterpart Wayne Bennett, as he turns his attention to facing the Melbourne Storm.
Brown and Bennett traded barbs either side of Saturday night's Telstra Premiership match in Newcastle, with Brown's words of a more personal nature.
The Knights mentor called Bennett and his son-in-law, Ben Ikin to clear the air about his comment that Bennett should have used his "big head instead of his little head" during his stint as Newcastle coach before returning to Brisbane.
"I’ve now moved on from all of that," Brown said.
"As a coach, we have thick skin and we just move on and I’m more interested in the Storm and if I am not focusing on them I am certainly not doing my job."
The premiers are a tough opposition at the best of times, but they will be desperate to return to the winners list after suffering back to back losses and hold a historical advantage, with the Knights winning just twice at AAMI Park.
But the Knights have shown Brown they have the desire, motivation and ability to win close matches, as he labelled the win over Brisbane the best he has seen since joining the club for the 2016 campaign.
"We are not getting carried away though with where we are," Brown said.
"It’s a long year and it’s a tough year and it’s a tough road for everyone. But having people in key positions who have a lot of experience helps."
There will be a number of key match-ups on Friday night, including emerging star Kayln Ponga up against one of the greatest fullbacks of all time in Billy Slater.
While Jacob Saifiti looks set to come into the squad to replace suspended lock Mitchell Barnett, who was charged with a grade one dangerous throw on Broncos forward Tevita Pangai jnr.
"He’s a big kid and gives us some really good size," Brown said.
"They’ve also got some pretty big blokes down there. So that extra size for us will probably suit and helps a little."
Knights hooker Slade Griffin will go head to head with his Storm mentor Cameron Smith, who he rates as one of the best he has seen play the game.
"He will probably give me a little wink and a smile, but he also wants a win and he will be focused on what they need to do," Griffin said.
“We just want to test ourselves against a good side and what better team to do that than last year's premiers.”