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NYC squad coming together

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Photo by Grant Sproule.

Coming into a new pre-season is always a juggling act for an Under 20s team, as some of the squad consists of NYC veterans while others have never trained in a fully professional environment before.

With players coming and going from year to year, it is always a fairly disjointed squad that a coach has to pull together in the pre-season, but nib Newcastle Knights NYC coach Todd Lowrie says his side is building well for 2017.

“A lot of them haven’t trained this way before, so they’ve been doing a lot more fitness work and gym work than before,” Lowrie explained.

“You can tell the new guys that come in are a little bit skinnier than everyone else, but to their credit they’ve all trained hard and worked hard in the gym.

“They’ve all put on some size and they’re not looking so out of place as they did at the start of the pre-season.”

Trial matches are on the horizon now as well, and Lowrie has three games lined up for his young side to determine what the final make-up of the Round 1 team will be.

The young Knights will be taking on two top eight sides from last year, and will also come up against a youth representative team.

 

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Photo by Grant Sproule.

“We’ve got a trial against Cronulla in a couple of weeks, and then a couple of weeks later we have a trial against a Country representative type of team,” Lowrie said.

“Then we’ll be playing against Canberra on the same weekend that first grade are.”

Two weeks later it will be Round 1, and the red and blues will be flying over to Auckland to take on the Warriors.

The New Zealand side always provides a tough challenge in the NYC competition, but Lowrie hails it as a good opportunity to challenge his new look side.

“They’re always really strong,” he said of the Warriors.

“Last year they were quite a young team, so because of that they’ll be coming into this year like us with a little more confidence.

“Some of our guys haven’t even been overseas before, so it will be good for the team and will be a couple of days to bond together.”

And while the likes of Nick Meaney, Sam Stone and Jack Cogger have been training with the first grade side this pre-season, Lowrie is hopeful of getting them back on board in the NYC side for Round 1.

“They’re all still eligible to play NYC, so I’m hoping to get some, if not all of them back,” he said.