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Watson mindful of keeping errors and temper in check

They were popular targets for disgruntled Newcastle supporters and social media trolls during and after the Knights’ humbling 38-14 loss to the depleted Gold Coast Titans last Sunday.

But five-eighth Connor Watson and hooker Danny Levi have owned their mistakes and are determined to be better against Parramatta at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday.

They have to be, and they know it.

Watson cost himself three tries from a double movement and two dropped passes with the line looming.

“That’s three tries there – that’s a great day for me. The other stuff was good, and that’s the most disappointing thing, but those key moments, I didn’t come up with the plays, and that’s what I need to do,” Watson said.

"We really opened them up but the disappointing thing was the finishes, and I had a couple. Just over-running it, being too keen, that’s sort of the problem. I think people are just trying so hard and getting caught up on mistakes.”

Knights v Eels - Round 7

When he spilled Levi’s high pass from dummy-half in the 19th minute, Phillip Sami scooted away to score Gold Coast’s opening try. Instead of turning his mind from attack to defence, Watson threw his arms in the air and took out his frustration on his team-mate.

It was one of those days, for Watson and the Knights, but he has not lost confidence or his competitive edge and will dust himself off for their must-win game against the Eels.

“It was inconsistent, and that’s been the way to describe my start of the year. I think I’ve done some really good stuff, but I’ve had some glimpses of really bad stuff too,” said Watson, who has again been named at five-eighth alongside captain Mitchell Pearce.

“I’ve just got to eliminate the errors. I had a really good game on the weekend but the thing that’s marking my performance at the moment is one or two dropped balls or a forced pass or something like that.

“It’s disappointing, because there’s so much good stuff to look at, then you look at something and go ‘Oh, that was me, I did that’, so it’s been a really tough start.

“We’re really close and it’s got to click but the thing is now … we’re getting to the point where it needs to happen now or it’s going to be too late, so it’s really time for us this weekend.”

Levi took some wrong options out of dummy-half against the Titans and his service was not as sharp as he or his team-mates would have preferred.

Just ask Watson.

But the Kiwi international said coach Nathan Brown has simplified his role, and he will concentrate more on pinning his ears back and making ground out of dummy-half to get the Eels back-pedalling.

Brown addresses 'party culture' at Knights

“I thought I definitely let myself down on the weekend. I was quite disappointed in myself, actually, but that’s footy, and you’ve always got next week,” Levi told reporters on Wednesday.

“I’ve talked to Browny a bit and we’ve come up with a simpler game plan for myself, and I think it’s going to work for me. It brings out a lot of my best attributes in the game, so I’m looking forward to it and I can’t wait to bounce back.

“I think the best part of my game is when I just run the ball myself, get a quick play-the-ball and try to bust the line. I think I tried a bit too hard putting other people into holes and it just wasn’t working for me, so it’s something I need to bring and that will definitely help the team.

Knights hooker Danny Levi.
Knights hooker Danny Levi. ©Paul Barkley/NRL Photos

“When I get my things right, it’s going to definitely help the boys out. I’m definitely wanting to have a big one and bounce back.”

Levi said the Knights were still in a positive frame of mind despite taking a five-match losing streak into the game against the Eels.

“At the weekend we made a few errors, including myself, that resulted in tries, but the effort after the errors just wasn’t good enough, so that’s something we’re definitely focusing on,” he said.

“It’s a bit of an attitude thing and a bit of confidence. It’s a bit of a rut that we’re in but the team’s still got a lot of confidence in ourselves, and we really have a good belief.

“We’re a bit of a tight-knit group so we’re definitely sticking in, and the results will come.”

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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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