Returning five-eighth Jarrod Mullen says Newcastle are building after a slow start to the season.

Five-eighth Jarrod Mullen says Newcastle are beginning to build after a slow start to the NRL season.

The Knights claimed their second win of the year against Canberra on Saturday at GIO Stadium in Mullen’s first match of the season after suffering a hamstring injury at the Auckland Nines.

For the first time this year, the Knights had their first choice halves, fullback and hooker on the paddock against the Raiders and they responded accordingly with a gritty 26-12 round six victory after the scores were locked at 12-all at halftime.

Mullen’s kicking game was instrumental in the win.

“To have a good win down in Canberra is hopefully a stepping stone,” Mullen said.

“It’s great just to be back playing footy, I’ve been training for eight weeks and it really does your head in.

“The (initial) diagnosis was eight to 12 weeks, so it was good to get back and get through a full game

“The lungs were burning a bit. But I really enjoyed it out there.

“It was just good to get the 7, 6, 9 and 1 on all together in the one team, it obviously helps everyone else.”

The Knights’ other win was a 30-0 hammering of Cronulla in round four.

Coach Wayne Bennett said the Knights had struggled in the absence of Darius Boyd, who missed two games with a hamstring tear before returning in round five against the Cowboys, and Mullen.

“Maybe I have been a bit of a hard task masker without him (Mullen) and Darius has only been back two weeks,” Bennett said

“They are crucial players in the team, you see what they bring so we were doing without those blokes for four weeks so that probably didn’t help our cause.”

Mullen combined well with Tyrone Roberts in the halves with Kurt Gidley steady at hooker until he went off in the second half with concussion.

He is unlikely to play against Brisbane at Hunter Stadium on Friday.