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Dogged Knights won't roll over, says Klemmer

They faltered at the final hurdle before the playoffs but David Klemmer believes the young Knights can replicate Canterbury's charge to the 2014 grand final when he was a young pup.

Newcastle lost the chance to play their final against Souths before their faithful fans at McDonald Jones Stadium when they lost to the Titans last Friday and Klemmer addressed the team at training on Monday to tell them about his 2014 campaign with the Bulldogs.

"It was the same sort of experience with the Dogs. We had to play the Gold Coast in the last round and they were last on the ladder and they beat us.

"We were in seventh spot so we had to play Melbourne in Melbourne week one, then Manly at the Sydney Football Stadium, then Penrith and then into the grand final against South Sydney.

"So I shared that with the fellas because they were a little down after our game against the Titans last Friday. It just shows you can make things happen."

Newcastle are underdogs again when it comes to finals experience but don't try telling Klemmer and his fellow hard-headed old forward Aidan Guerra it will matter on Sunday.

Klemmer and Guerra have played in grand finals as part of their combined 17 playoff matches at the Bulldogs and Roosters respectively.

Guerra scored a try in the 2013 premiership win over Manly, while Klemmer was part of the Canterbury team which lost the 2014 grand final to South Sydney.

The two are among just six Knights players with finals experience – Mitchell Pearce, Kalyn Ponga, Edrick Lee and Kurt Mann the others – and they pushed back at criticism that inexperience could hurt against the Rabbitohs.

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"People who talk like that aren't here each week in training and seen what we've been through on and off the field," Klemmer said.

"For us there's a lot of belief in this footy team. I know there's some inexperience but there's a lot of guys who've gone through a lot of hurt with wooden spoons and such.

"So they've been waiting for this moment for a few years. It's their time to shine and they're excited but they don't want to let anyone down either."

Guerra said the Knights – in their first post-season appearance for seven years – had to start somewhere.

"With finals, you only get experience from being there," Guerra said.

"If anything that might be a positive. They've never played for something that means so much.

"As far as experience goes, the group has something that others don't. They've come through the fire together and it's really bonded them."

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Ponga made his NRL debut in the 2016 semi-final on the wing for the Cowboys in a 26-20 win over the Broncos. He was also part of the preliminary final loss the following week to the Sharks.

"I'm excited for these boys because finals is a whole different beast," Ponga said.

"It doesn't really matter what you've done the previous week or the whole year in fact. You just have to turn up on that day and give it your all."