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Thanks for the support Newcastle: Best

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Newcastle Knights powerhouse Bradman Best has thanked the local community for its “amazing support” during the side’s run into the NRL finals.

As the Adam O’Brien-coached outfit heads to New Zealand to face the Warriors this weekend, the blockbusting centre paid tribute to the Hunter club’s fanbase.

Over the past three consecutive weeks, McDonald Jones Stadium welcomed almost 30,000 people on each occasion… for the first time in more than a decade.

That backing, and Newcastle’s amazing 10-game winning streak, has certainly lifted the spirts of everyone in the region.

And, it hasn’t gone unnoticed by Best.

Newcastle Knights centre Bradman Best in “beast mode” after a recent victory. Photo: NRL Imagery

“There’s a real ‘buzzy’ feel around the place,” he said.

“I’ve definitely noticed the terrific feeling and good energy around the town.

“It’s great to get out and about and have everyone coming up to you.

“They’re just really proud, so it’s a mad feel.

“Even at the ground (McDonald Jones) on Sunday, and walking around the stadium, you could see all the smiling faces and genuine joy.

“The boys just want to let them know how thankful we are and grateful to them for turning up not only at the weekend, but all year.

“The fans really get behind us and it does mean a lot to everyone in the squad.”

The Knights’ home-ground advantage came to the fore against the Canberra Raiders.

Newcastle trailed 16-6 at the break, however rallied in the second half to prevail 30-28 in extra time, a match which had everything.

“The Raiders obviously brought a lot of physicality in that first period,” said Best, a Central Coast product.

“They turned up with real good attitude… and put it to us.

“So, it was an ugly win.

“But, I’m sure it will definitely help us in the long run.

“It’s also part of our learning curve, particularly over the past few months.

“Everyone’s just doing their own individual prep, getting themselves right and then coming together as a team.

“We’re putting in performances that we’re proud of.

“Win or lose, you want to be a team that plays tough and does its job.

“So far, we’ve been doing that.

“However, we just need to keep building.

“This is the core of Newcastle, our DNA… we know what we’re about.

“So, this needs to be us from now on.”

Victory over the Warriors at Go Media Stadium, Auckland, on Saturday 16 September would set up a grand final qualifier with the Brisbane Broncos.

“It’s a good challenge for us up against New Zealand and its crowd,” Best said.

“But, we’re keen to get the job done.

“We’ve both come a long way [this season] after our earlier battles.

“They’re a definitely a different side; however, so are we.

“The Warriors have been playing unreal footy, that’s why they’re a top four team.

“I’m sure it’ll be a good challenge and an exciting game.”

The fixture is due to kick off at the earlier time of 4.05pm.

Newcastle Knights v New Zealand Warriors

Saturday 16 September (4.05pm) at Go Media Stadium, Auckland

  • Newcastle Knights: Kalyn Ponga, Dominic Young, Dane Gagai, Bradman Best, Greg Marzhew, Tyson Gamble, Adam Clune, Jacob Saifiti, Phoenix Crossland, Leo Thompson, Tyson Frizell, Dylan Lucas, Adam Elliott; Kurt Mann, Daniel Saifiti, Jack Hetherington, Mat Croker, Brodie Jones, Enari Tuala, Fa’amanu Brown, Lachlan Miller, Jack Johns
  • New Zealand Warriors: Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, Rocco Berry, Adam Pompey, Marcelo Montoya, Te Maire Martin, Shaun Johnson, Addin Fonua-Blake, Wayde Egan, Mitchell Barnett, Jackson Ford, Marata Niukore, Tohu Harris; Dylan Walker, Jazz Tevaga, Bayley Sironen, Josh Curran, Freddy Lussick, Taine Tuaupiki, Bunty Afoa, Tom Ale, Edward Kosi

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