If the Knights are searching for the sort of pride and passion that's going to be needed to make a fair dinkum finals' run over the back end of the season, they don't have to look far.
Their co-captain Daniel Saifiti was absolutely dripping in it on Wednesday night during Origin I in Townsville.
It was stirring stuff to see Saifiti roaring at the pro-Queensland crowd and thumping the emblem on his Blues jersey after he ran over the top of a couple of would-be Maroons' defenders to score his second half try right under the sticks.
But it wasn't only then. Throughout the game, intensity was written all over the Knights prop's face. It was inspirational.
After just about every relieving kick, he was the first player down there pressuring the receiver and his defence all night was ferocious.
Granted, this is NSW versus Queensland, the best of the best. But surely, when it all boils down to it, the only difference in attitude between the Origin arena and a normal club game is the psychological state of mind of the players taking part.
Given their slow starts and lack of spirit and heart in several games this season, Knights coach Adam O'Brien could do a lot worse than show his playing group an edited highlights package of the desire and effort on display on Wednesday night from their co-captain before they run out against the Rabbitohs today.
If some of Saifiti's more passive-natured teammates can't emulate his intensity and desire and fire themselves up accordingly to take on the Bunnies from the opening whistle with all guns blazing, they may need to get out of the way of those who are willing to put it all on the line before it's too late.
Testing the market
Knights backrower Lachlan Fitzgibbon is no certainty to remain at the club next season despite the offer of a new two-year contract extension.
While it's hard to see the local South Newcastle junior departing, it may well hinge on how much interest there is in him from rival clubs.
Fitzgibbon's manager Chris Orr has apparently told the Knights he will test the market before coming back to them and making a decision on his playing future.
The backrower, believed to be among the top 10 money-earners at the Knights, will likely have to take a decent pay-cut to remain at the Knights.
He is one of 11 current players off contract and it's no secret coach Adam O'Brien wants to bolster his squad with some new blood.
The Knights' decision not to sign Matt Lodge wasn't only about the fan backlash. We're hearing the Broncos allegedly reneged on how much of his $800,000-a-season contract they were willing to pay, souring any prospective deal.
As it stands, the club still has a roster spot to fill and there had been talk of signing a winger on a cheap deal, even just for the remainder of this season. Dragons winger Jordan Pereira, who looks like signing with Brisbane for 2022, was a name floated a week ago.
But signing an experienced centre for next season remains the number one recruitment priority.
Given he will basically be starting from scratch, Blake Green faces a huge challenge with only just over two months to prepare for the start of the NRL Women's competition in late August.
Green will coach the inaugural Knights team in an expanded six-team competition that was officially launched by the NRL yesterday.
He will no doubt have spoken to a number of local girls who have been playing in the competition with Sydney clubs, hoping to lure them home.
He'll also be sweating on getting some other top-tier players to fill his 24-strong roster from a proposed player equalisation draft.
Baz's best awards
Connor Watson is the big mover in our player of the year awards after polling the maximum three points for the second consecutive week in the loss to the Parramatta Eels last Sunday. But Blues prop Daniel Saifiti still holds a one point lead.
Knights v Eels Rd 12: 3 Connor Watson, 2 Jacob Saifiti 1 Josh King.
Current leader board after Round 13:
13- Daniel Saifiti. 12- Connor Watson. 10- Kalyn Ponga. 9- Jayden Brailey, 8- Mitch Barnett. 5- Tyson Frizell, Bradman Best, Jacob Saifiti. 4- Brodie Jones. 3- Kurt Mann. 1- David Klemmer, Jesse Sue, Phoenix Crossland, Josh King.
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