Senior Knights challenge Saifiti in Ese'ese's absence
Knights prop Daniel Saifiti's whirlwind match-winning stint against the Eels on Saturday came after senior Knights forwards laid down the challenge to the 22-year-old to cover for the loss of form prop Herman Ese'ese.
Ese'ese was unavailable for the round 13 fixture at ANZ Stadium, won 30-4 by the Knights, due to a one-week suspension.
Saifiti was playing his second game back from a one-week dropping in round 11 that came on the back of some costly and uncharacteristic errors creeping into his game.
The big Fijian was one of his team's best in a poor loss to Cronulla last week before being best on ground in the big win over the Eels.
After the game, Saifiti revealed that after his round 11 wake-up call, it had been the challenge from his senior teammates that sparked his huge, try-scoring, 200-metre performance against the Eels.
"I had a couple of bad games [before I was dropped]. I improved last week then with Herman being out the boys challenged me to step up," Saifiti said.
"Herman's been our best prop this year and with him out I stepped it up a gear. Aidan and JB (Jamie Buhrer) told me if we want to win I have to step up.
"[They] challenged me with Herman being out. They just told me I improved last week but Herman's out this week and you're going to have to step it up a gear this week and I thought I improved on last week.
"I thought me and Ox (Jacob Lillyman) laid a good platform for the team and [Guerra], he played good as well. It was an all-round good performance from everyone on the field, the middles and the edges.
"To win like that, we probably haven't played like that in a while. [To get to 30-0 up] was a good bounce back from the boys. Now we move on to next week against the Roosters."
Saifiti said coach Nathan Brown had told him after the game that his demotion for the Titans game in round 11 was the best thing that could have happened to him.
"I've worked hard over the past two weeks and I think I've improved last week and improved again this week. I don't want to rest on my laurels though, we've got a big pack next week in the Roosters so we can step it up again hopefully," he added.
"Browny is always harsh with me but it comes from a good place, he tells me he knows what I can do because I've done it in the past.
"I expect a lot from myself as well, I'm probably my own harshest critic. There were a couple of weeks there where there were silly errors that I know is not in my game."