Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Newcastle Herald
Newcastle Herald
Robert Dillon

The seven-year itch: Daniel Saifiti v Melbourne Storm

Daniel Saifiti. Picture by Jonathan Carroll

DANIEL Saifiti has been waiting seven long years to beat Melbourne Storm and reckons he won't get a better chance than in Saturday's showdown at McDonald Jones Stadium.

The Newcastle Knights have lost 11 consecutive games against Melbourne - equalling a club record in the process - and Saifiti has been involved in seven of those defeats.

Along with his twin brother Jacob and a host of other teammates, Saifiti has suffered Storm damage on an annual basis since his 2016 debut season.

But after back-to-back wins against Canterbury (66-0) and Wests Tigers (34-18), the Knights head into the blockbuster clash with some momentum and confidence, and they are certain to have a bumper crowd behind them, given that Newcastle's champion NRLW side play beforehand against St George Illawarra in their season opener.

"They're the only club I've never beaten, so it would be good to get that one back," Saifiti said on Monday.

"They've always been up there with the Penriths and that as the big giants, but you can't give them too much respect.

"You've got to focus on what we can do as well. They've got to stop us as well, so it's going to be a great game."

Saifiti said he was "sick of it" when reminded about Melbourne's winning streak and had no doubt the Knights possess enough collective self-belief to turn the tables on Saturday.

"Yeah, 100 per cent," he said. "Definitely, 100 per cent. I think you go into every game - even last year when we weren't going good - you still have that belief when you're going in.

"But I think the players we've got this year, we're building nicely these last couple of weeks ... we've played some real good footy.

"We're going to have to play for 80 minutes to get the win, but like I said, I've got the belief we can do it, for sure."

Saifiti said Melbourne were "so clinical" in every facet of their game and Newcastle needed to match them.

"They do everything right, pretty much all the time," he said.

"To compete with them and win you have to be the exact same way."

Fellow Newcastle forward Mat Croker, who is yet to play against Melbourne in his 33-game NRL career, described the Storm as "a quality football side" but sounded far from overawed..

"We all weren't there for the eight years, were we?" he said. "So we've just got to go off what we know and look forward. You can't just keep looking back.

"You've got to look forward, or you get caught standing.

"You've got to move onto what's new this week and handle it ... it's no secret they're a good team, but we'll bring our A-game. We'll be right."

Asked if the Knights had enough belief to stop the streak, Croker replied: "We definitely do, and we'll have a full McDonald Jones that can believe in us as well.

"They'll be there to help us out."

Meanwhile, Saifiti was unfazed by comments from Storm skipper Christian Welch after Newcastle's recent loss to a depleted Penrith team.

Before a press conference, Welch was overheard asking: "How did the Knights lose?", in apparent disbelief.

"I saw it," Saifiti said.

"It probably wasn't too far off the mark, but I don't really care what he has to say. He can worry about his team."

To see more stories and read today's paper download the Newcastle Herald news app here.

Or if your story has open comments:

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Join the discussion in the comment section below.

Find out how to register or become a subscriber here.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.