Knights galloping to NRL start: O'Brien

Melissa Woods
Coach Adam O'Brien has likened his Newcastle NRL squad to a racehorse returning from a spell

Newcastle coach Adam O'Brien has likened his team to a racehorse returning from a spell and says he's had to pull back on the reins ahead of their NRL re-start.

Taking on Penrith on Sunday week at Campbelltown Stadium, O'Brien says the Knights are ready for their round three match and doesn't expect their playing standards to slip.

O'Brien has been surprised by the way the Knights have picked up where they left off from their unbeaten start before the March competition shutdown.

"I liken them to a race horse that's been out for a spell and has come back," O'Brien said on Thursday.

"We've spiked really quickly - to the point where I'm trying to pull them down a little bit.

"We had a light day today and I'm going to give them the weekend off as they've been excellent.

"Going on the consistent training that we've had I expect a consistent performance."

The Knights have a tough block of matches between round four and 10, including meetings with Canberra, Melbourne and Parramatta, though O'Brien welcomed the schedule.

"It's going to give us a real good indication of where we are at," he said.

"We play some quality teams who have been tipped by the experts to be premiership favourites but I'm happy with it."

O'Brien says he's still tossing up whether to pursue rotating selections as floated by Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold given they will be playing for an unprecedented 18 rounds straight.

"If you want to rest a guy or if we get three or four injuries from one game are you bringing in guys who haven't played any footy since round one or two - there's so many things to think about as a coach," O'Brien said.

"I know Seibs (Seibold) is thinking about the European model of rotating guys in and out and that's something we need to consider - it's not as far out there as you'd think."

He said his biggest selection quandary was in the centres, with fit teenager Bradman Best and Tautau Moga putting pressure on starting duo Enari Tuala and Gehamat Shibasaki.

"I'm happy with the two centres who started the year but I can't not think about Bradman and what he's done since he's been back and Tau (Moga) is the same.

"We've got four centres there who are like four pitbulls at the moment; they're all going after it."