Origin lessons drive Saifiti's NRL return

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An enlightened Jacob Saifiti understands why Newcastle fans would have second thoughts about turning up to watch them, demanding his team offers some hope with a statement performance against Penrith.

The prop relished his first State of Origin camp as a NSW reserve and says he'll do his best to earn a debut in Game II in Perth by playing well on Sunday against the premiers.

But Saifiti also admitted his eyes had been opened to the new standard of his star Blues teammates, and that he needed to bring that back to a Knights side battling in 12th with a 4-8 record.

"I thought I knew a lot about preparation, then you see the way boys like (Nathan) Cleary, (Cam) Murray, (James) Tedesco prepare and it's just another level," he said.

"I learnt a lot from that camp and can bring it back here.

"I'm grateful I made the squad but if I'm honest with myself, I wasn't anywhere near those guys (the props in the team) or near my best as well.

"The props they've (NSW) got are the best in the comp; I'm sure they'll come back and push their cases to prove why they were selected.

"But I'll be doing my best as well."

Penrith's general NRL dominance means it's no surprise the statistics are skewed heavily in their favour for the McDonald Jones Stadium clash.

The Knights have lost 11 of their past 14 clashes, 10 of those by double digits and the most recent two by 18 points.

More concerning is their failure to score over 20 points in any one of their last 11 games against Penrith.

This season the Panthers are ranked first and second for red zone attack, while the Knights are the worst and second worst in those categories.

"Newcastle being Newcastle, we get big crowds and continue to disappoint them," Saifiti summed up.

"It's a really big test to show them we're still in this and there's a reason to come and watch."

Panthers skipper Isaah Yeo won't back up from Wednesday's State of Origin while Nathan Cleary is a maybe. Stephen Crichton, Brian To'o, Liam Martin and Jarome Luai are more likely to figure.

The Knights' Queensland duo of Dane Gagai and captain Kalyn Ponga are both set to back-up.

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