Knights want Ramien on the right path
JESSE Ramien risks being left right out in the cold due to the Knights' habit of feeding Kalyn Ponga's favoured side.
New signing Edrick Lee has already made an impact, but their other strike backline acquisition remains relatively unused on the other side of the field.
The Knights have favoured Ponga's left side, but it is Sione Mata'utia who is taking responsibility for young centre Ramien not seeing enough ball.
Newcastle have scored four tries in the first two rounds. Lee has scored two (and had one disallowed) on his left wing and the other two tries have come through the middle.
Mata'utia, who has returned to the second row this season and plays between Ramien and halfback Mitchell Pearce, says the lack of action down their right side is on him.
"We saw glimpses of it (what Ramien can do) in the trial and we haven't seen enough of it from game one and two," Mata'utia said.
"We've seen what he can do with the ball, he's a pretty powerful runner and he's demanding, he really wants the ball and you just want to give it to someone like that who can make something out of nothing.
"I'm the closest person to him and I'm the closest to Pearcey as well. I'm the link in between who can probably help them get the ball more."
Newcastle sit just outside the top eight in ninth with a win and loss, but they are 13th for tries scored and 11th for points (28).
That doesn't mean they aren't creating opportunities.
Four Knights tries have been disallowed, but even those show their preference for left-side attack.
Lee and fullback Connor Watson have been denied by the video referee there, while Ponga had one disallowed through the middle.
Of those eight try-scoring opportunities, only Shaun Kenny-Dowall's disallowed try from round one was on the right.
"There's a bit of frustration from us. It's just the way it goes. We've got some strike players on that left side that need the ball in hand as well," Mata'utia said.
"Jesse is definitely calling every play he can get.
"I think that's part of my role, is trying to help Pearcey get the ball to the right. As halves do, they have so much on their mind, players around them can help a bit more so, therefore I've got to try to put my hand up and take a bit more of a role there in trying to get Jesse and Skidsy a bit more ball."
The Knights take comfort from the fact they are creating chances this early in the season, given the changes they have made to their spine.
Kenny-Dowall is confident it will be a matter of time before himself and Ramien are brought into play more.
"I think we have to be patient. We're still building as a team and definitely an area we want to improve on and get Jess a lot more ball," he said.
"It's still early in the season. We'll just keep plugging away and be patient and I'd say we'll get some more out there as soon as we can."