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Knights second-rower Sione Mata'utia.

Newcastle are set to get their first taste of the fly-in-fly-out gameday experience with a 12-hour round trip scheduled on Saturday but welcomed the challenge after a handy nine-day turnaround.   

In-form forward Sione Mata'utia is confident the Knights squad has never been more equipped to handle the scenario despite acknowledging players' pre-game preparations were likely to be affected.

The Knights will depart from Newcastle to Townsville around 10am on Saturday morning before clashing with the Cowboys at 3pm in humid day conditions at Queensland Country Bank Stadium.

Adam O'Brien's men had similar travel time challenges to restart the season with two three-hour bus trips to Campbelltown Stadium when they played the Panthers and Raiders.

"It's all new to us but like all teams who have done it, we'll just have to do our best to prepare not only physically but mentally because it's different mentally for sure," Mata'utia said.

"We've had a long turnaround, we had the weekend off just gone so we should be feeling fresh physically.

"We've got to find a way to be prepared [mentally] and there's no better way than to get through warm-up and play."

Cowboys v Knights - Round 7

The Knights will be without young gun Bradman Best for the clash against the Cowboys after the 18-year-old was removed from the squad's bubble after notifying the club of a possible COVID-19 breach earlier in the week.

Mata'utia said Best's error in judgement, in visiting his parents without pre-approval over the weekend, came after players were provided brief information around the easing of restrictions on Saturday.

"I sent him a quick message to see if he's well, it's an unfortunate situation but all of us are supporting Bradman from afar and he'll be doing what he needs to do in isolation and hopefully we can get him back soon," Mata'utia said.

"None of us want to slip up but it what it is. Every day it changes so we've got to lean on the club and get the info out for the players."

The self-reporting incident is unlikely to impact Newcastle's belief on the paddock with the club enjoying its strongest start to a season since 2015.

For Mata'utia, the longest-serving player at the club, the pain of finishing with three wooden spoons over a three-year period up until 2017 is now all but a distant memory.

"I came around the time the side made the finals in 2013 when Bedsy [Danny Buderus] was here," Mata'utia said.

"I [debuted] the year after that and there was a certain vibe. It's similar now to what it was then. It's pretty cool, there's a lot of belief compared to the last few years that we can make it all the way.

"The tightness of the group is what I've seen. We've always had a tight group the last 3-4 years [but] with new players coming in it makes it easier to gel with the team."

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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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