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Mitch Barnett and Jacob Saifiti have both vowed to put their close friendship aside, which includes commitments for an upcoming wedding, ahead of Saturday's semi-final in Auckland.

Barnett will be one of Saifiti's groomsmen when the Knights prop marries his partner Immogen Rodier later this year. Barnett also had Jacob's twin brother Daniel Saifiti standing next to him on his wedding day in 2018. 

The trio met when Barnett signed with the Knights in 2016 and through tough times - the club collected three-straight wooden spoons - they were constant mainstays in the side. 

All three are now relishing the opportunity to progress to Week 2 of the finals series this year for the first time in their careers - albeit this weekend on opposite teams.

"There will be no love lost on the field but he's one of my best mates," Saifiti told

"He'll be shooting out of the line. That's his style of footy, and that's my style too so we'll definitely be doing that. 

"Him and Addin have been playing well through the middle and it's been a win-win this year for both of us. I'm happy for him."

Barnett, who has kept a close eye on the Knights since departing the club to take up a long-term deal at the Warriors last year, smirked when asked after Saturday night's loss to the Panthers about a possible clash with the Saifiti brothers.

Extended try: Jacob Saifiti

"It's pretty funny how it all works out but hopefully it turns out in my favour," Barnett said. 

"I watch a lot of footy and especially Newcastle more closely with a lot of mates still there.

"I had some good years and tough years at Newcastle and in the middle of the year I was feeling a bit for them when they were copping it.

"But they've turned it around and I'm excited for them. I talk to Daniel and Jacob a lot but might have to see about this week." 

After a 38%-win record at the Knights across 126 games, Barnett's switch to the Warriors has come with immediate success, something he was not afforded during the start of his career at Newcastle.

Barnett though said he "wouldn't change anything" with how his career had panned out. 

"I don't know if those spoon years helped me but it got me experience," he said.

"I see some blokes who come into successful sides and immediately take off and I would've preferred to come into a really good side, but I'm here now and my path is where it is. I wouldn't change anything for the world.

Barnett lost the first 12 games of his NRL career during stints with the Raiders and Knights.
Barnett lost the first 12 games of his NRL career during stints with the Raiders and Knights. ©NRL Photos

"In those tougher years you've just got to make sure you're doing your best personally. I was a young kid so I was living the high life especially the first couple of years.

"It's not until a couple of years in that you get sick of losing. At the start you're just riding the wave of being in first grade. I'm not sure what's better early on but I think I'd prefer to win."

After a neck injury threatened to end his career prematurely earlier this year, Barnett continues to manage pain and will undergo surgery at season's end. 

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