New recruit Aidan Guerra during Newcastle training.
New recruit Aidan Guerra during Newcastle training.

Untold reason behind Guerra’s Knights signing

HIS signing was met with mixed reactions but Aidan Guerra will bring Newcastle far more than big game experience.

Look past the run metres and tackles per game and delve a little deeper.

That's what Nathan Brown and the Newcastle staff did when they landed the 30-year-old on a three-year-deal.

The coaching staff dig much deeper than a player's base stats and aside from the clear leadership, here you'll find the secret behind Guerra's recruitment.

Guerra finished the 2017 season as the leading tackler on players returning kicks.

"We looked at all those effort areas," Newcastle's general manager of football Darren Mooney said.

"Aidan does all the one percenters, as they call it, really well.

"He definitely brings leadership but he understands the small parts of the game which can give you an edge.

"He's someone who provides a team with much more than just the things your average punter will pick up on during a game."

Mitchell Pearce and Aidan Guerra at training.
Mitchell Pearce and Aidan Guerra at training.

According to the Fox Sports Lab, Guerra made 61 tackles on the man returning the kick which tells us many things.

Firstly, he's aware of where his half is and where his half is kicking.

Keep in mind, his No.7 is former Roosters teammate Mitchell Pearce.

This is a combination the duo will transfer straight over to the Knights.

Unlike some lazy halves, Pearce is an aggressive chaser of his kicks and often wins the sprint to the attacker which means, even if his players are offside, they won't be by the time they make a tackle.

You don't have to be a genius to understand kick returns pose great threats and are an area the Knights will hope to exploit with Kalyn Ponga's blistering speed and footwork at the back.

The fact Guerra is able to shut them down is a huge advantage for this team.

By doing so, it not only tells us that he has great game awareness but he's very fit.

By leading the kick chase, he's not only shutting down the opposition attack but setting a great example for the youngsters in his team.

Aidan Guerra playing for the Maroons.
Aidan Guerra playing for the Maroons.

Alternatively, Guerra is also very good when it comes to pressuring kickers.

Last year the former Queensland Origin player applied significant strain on kickers 29 times and made contact with the kicker on 10 occasions.

These are minor things that often go unnoticed by the casual fan but can make a significant impact over the course of a game.

Keep an eye on Guerra's involvements against Manly on Friday.



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