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Thursday, June 24, 2021

Lino lines up return for Warriors clash

Newcastle playmaker Mason Lino could make a long-awaited return when the Knights tackle the New Zealand Warriors at Tamworth’s Scully Park on Saturday afternoon.

Knights coach Adam O’Brien hinted Lino may receive the opportunity in a pre-game interview this morning.

“It’s been a long time coming for him,” O’Brien said.

“He’s done a really good job at organising our opposition at training, and it’s a hard thing to do – we are asking a guy with 10 minutes preparation to run a team and he’s done it exceptionally well.

“He gives a kicking option for Mitchell, he’ll organise the team and he’s quite dangerous with the football and we’ve worked really hard with him defensively and he understands his role, so I’m looking forward to it.”

Lino’s opportunity comes on the back of Blake Green’s season-ending knee injury against the Cowboys last weekend.

“It was a somber dressing room last week,” O’Brien said.

“To Blake’s credit, he’s been with us all this week in terms of preparation [and] he understands the opposition we are playing against.

“He has been in and around the team all week and that’s the person that he is – he hasn’t made it about himself.

“It’s quite easy to wallow in that and feel sorry for yourself and he’s a great guy to have around.

“We’ve got on with it and that’s what we’ve had to do all year.”

O’Brien said the Knights were confident in heading into their clash with the Warriors, and added he wasn’t worried about Kalyn Ponga’s poor conversion rate last week.

“I’m really happy with our defensive structures and our resolve and I want to see that continue,” he said.

“The big games, you go back and you look at them and they’re not huge score lines.

“You don’t get a whole lot of attacking ball, you get a whole lot of defense done in between the two 30s, and that’s what we need to be good at and that’s what I’m happy about.”

The Knights clash against the Warriors will kick-off at 3pm tomorrow (29 August).

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