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Knights hooker Kurt Mann.

Knights coach Adam O'Brien said it was not a difficult conversation to have with Kurt Mann to move his regular No.6 to hooker so new recruit Blake Green could slip into the five-eighth role.

Mann not only dodged Newcastle's No.9 curse but performed the role with aplomb as the Knights romped to a healthy 44-4 win over Wests Tigers on Saturday night at McDonald Jones Stadium.

He had trained at five-eighth all pre-season but his value as a utility meant he had to revert to No.9 with the season-ending injuries to Connor Watson (achilles) and Andrew McCullough (hamstring).

Then Green was signed from the Warriors meaning Mann's return to the halves is unlikely for the rest of 2020.

"It wasn't (difficult) because of who Kurt is," O'Brien said.

Match Highlights: Knights v Wests Tigers

"I spoke to Kurt and 'Junior' (Mitchell Pearce) first and then I spoke to all the leaders. So it wasn't a case of 'I'm doing this' I had buy-in from pretty much everyone in the squad.

"Kurt was the one who came to me after the Bulldogs game (injuries) and said 'I've got 80 in me if you need me to play at No.9."

O'Brien had to move Mann to the centres at one stage, when Gehamat Shibasaki felt some tightness in his legs so he was rested.

"Kurt comes up with a try-saver from centre. He just does a job wherever you stick him," he said.

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"I'm just grateful he's in the team and I'm grateful he's the type of person who wants success and will do anything for the good of the team."

The team is feeling pretty perky with their 40-point win to make that top-eight position feel a little more secure.

What pleased O'Brien even more was to see the return of more steel-like defence from the team based in the Hunter's steel city.

"When the game is in the bag we still want to see that resilience on our try-line," he said.

"At half-time I wanted us to keep showing that fighting spirit. We had that in round one and we had that tonight. We wanted to get that back.

"There's still a couple of things we need to get better at – we gifted them field position at the end there – but we never wavered in our defence and I'm really proud of them for that.

"We're still not there, we're a work in progress, but I believe our best footy is still ahead of us.

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"That final 10 minutes, I will talk to them about their concentration because we don't want to let the scoreboard dictate that," O'Brien said.

"But look it's a real step in the right direction."

Pearce also knew the value of stemming the run of losses.

"It was vital to win tonight. It was a massive game for us," Pearce said. "We knew it was big to be able to bounce back at home after a couple of losses here.

"We've been up and down in our performances so it's about enjoying the win and then getting back on Monday and getting ready for next week."

The Knights host Manly next Sunday.

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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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