Newcastle veteran Danny Buderus say not only do the Knights want to beat Melbourne Storm but they want to be like the NRL premiers as well.
The Storm and unfancied Knights meet in a knock-out semi-final at AAMI Park on Saturday night with the winners to face the Sydney Roosters for a grand final berth.
Buderus said he admired the Storm for their consistent competitiveness.
“I think they are just the ultimate competitors,” the hooker said.
“They play the game at a level where we want to get to.
“I think every team aspires to be as competitive as Melbourne. That’s us. That’s where we want to be.”
Buderus says his battle-hardened troops have no fear of facing the Storm on some hostile home turf.
They haven’t won in Melbourne since 2004 but Buderus said the big-game experience amongst his teammates meant they were confident of an upset.
“There has to be confidence going into a semi-final; you’ve got to give yourselves a chance,” said Buderus.
“It’s a good scenario (to have the experience) and it’s in the forwards and that’s where the battle is going to be.
“There’s some guys there that will instil a bit of confidence into the younger guys.”
Buderus said the Knights had also been buoyed by record of their master coach Wayne Bennett, who has seven premierships to his name.
“We’re feeding off that – he’s our leader,” he said.
“He’s won a lot of premierships so he knows what he’s talking about.”
Buderus, who played in the Knights’ 2001 NRL title win, will retire at season’s end.
He said he couldn’t help but think each training session and match might be his last.
“Leading into this game and into the semi-final, I’m just very happy to be a part of September,” the former Test star said.
“That’s a bonus and I’m looking forward to the challenge of getting out there with a group of guys that would do anything for each other.
“Hopefully we go deep into September.”
Another player calling it quits is Storm prop Jason Ryles.
Ryles missed the Storm’s grand final victory last season with a hamstring injury and was well aware this was his last chance for glory.
“I won’t lie to you – it’s always in the back of your mind but it is what it is,” Ryles said.
“To play finals footy, it doesn’t happen every year for a lot of players so I’m very grateful for that and I just want to take every opportunity that I’ve been given.”
Ryles wasn’t giving away who would start in the Storm No.6 jersey with Gareth Widdop named but Brett Finch an outside chance to return from injury.
“They’ve both been training in the first team so they’re both as good a chance as each other,” he said.
“Gaz brings the youth and he won a premiership last year and Finchy brings another dimension.”