‘Just do your job’: AOB’s message to Hetherington

Jasper Bruce |

Coach Adam O’Brien has a simple message for returning Knight Jack Hetherington: just do your job.
Coach Adam O’Brien has a simple message for returning Knight Jack Hetherington: just do your job.

Jacob Saifiti’s foot injury has parachuted Jack Hetherington into Newcastle’s side to face the Warriors, but coach Adam O’Brien says the firebrand prop has nothing to prove on his return from a highly publicised ban.

Initial fears were State of Origin prop Saifiti may have suffered a long-term Achilles injury after pulling up sore during last week’s win over the Dolphins.

But O’Brien expects he could line up against Wests Tigers next weekend, with second-rower Tyson Frizell also a chance to return from a hamstring injury for his first game since round four.

“We just thought we’d better err on the side of caution with (Saifiti),” O’Brien said.

“Every day he’s gotten better and better and better. I anticipate he’ll be right for next week, hopefully with Friz (Frizell) as well.”

The injury paves the way for Hetherington, initially listed in the reserves, to join O’Brien’s bench for the clash against the Warriors on Sunday.

The game will be Hetherington’s first since a bizarre confrontation with Canterbury hooker Reed Mahoney that landed him a one-game suspension in round seven.

After they were both sin-binned, Hetherington waited for Mahoney in the tunnel at Accor Stadium, bouncing on his feet as if to suggest the pair punch one another.

NRL officials intervened to pull Hetherington away once he shoved Mahoney, with Knights football boss Peter Parr publicly rebuking Hetherington in the days that followed.

Hetherington has a chance to repay the Knights for his brain-snap but O’Brien played it cool when asked whether he expected a response from the prop.

“I just want Jack to go and do his job,” he said.

“He’s moved on from that incident, I think enough’s been said about it. He’s just got to get his head around playing tomorrow, which he will do. 

“He’ll go out and do a job for us.”

Newcastle were gutsy to overcome the Dolphins on the road last week in their first game since losing influential fullback Kalyn Ponga to a long-term foot injury.

O’Brien wants the Knights to again focus on their defence against the Warriors, another side that has struggled for consistency since last year’s finals exit.

“That real gritty-type performance and defensive mindset, we need that again tomorrow,” he said.

“Defence will win this one.”