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28 hours ago - 9 Likes
Veteran centre Adam MacDougall has been ruled out of Newcastle's trip to New Zealand as the Knights plan to stick with the same 17-man squad which has delivered a strong start to 2008.
Assistant coach Rick Stone said 18th man MacDougall would drop from the team to face the Warriors on Sunday, as he is still not fully fit after suffering bruising to his knee.
"(MacDougall) is not quite there, we are going to save him for next week," said Stone.
"He has a bit of bruising around the knee. He actually trained fairly strongly this week but as a precaution we will just leave him out and stick with the same 17 that has played the last three weeks which is giving us some continuity."
Newcastle head to Auckland determined to bounce back after last week's heart-breaking extra time loss to Parramatta, while the Warriors are coming off a 52-6 thumping from Manly.
Stone said the Knights were not getting ahead of themselves after a surprising 2-1 start, but were happy to finally gain fluency after last year's injury-plagued season.
"Last year we chopped and changed too much obviously because of injuries," said Stone.
"Even Bedsy (captain Danny Buderus) is saying the continuity and fluency is good and everyone is getting to know each other and it is coming to the fore (in our play).
"We are taking a bit of confidence out of the first couple of weeks.
"I don't think we have got ahead of ourselves at any time ... we thought we did enough in the game to win (against Parramatta) but we've probably only got ourselves to blame for the loss.
"We cannot afford to get complacent at this stage of our development.
"We have got to be as keen and enthusiastic and committed as we can be every week to gain a bit of credibility and continue the way we have started the first couple of weeks."