You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content

It was a look into the Newcastle Knights' future at Hunter Stadium on Saturday night, with the Club's NYC graduates putting on a show in the comprehensive 52-12 trial win over the First Nations Goannas.


From hat-trick hero Jake Mamo through to fleet-footed fullback Sione Mata'utia and back-rower Joseph Tapine, the Knights have plenty of exciting young talent coming through the ranks.


For coach Wayne Bennett, the rise of these rookies is just all part of his long-term plan for the Club.


“Well you’re in a very competitive environment," Bennett reasons.


“You’ve got to live day-to-day, but you’ve also got to plan for your future."


As much as Bennett was impressed with the performances of Mamo, Tapine and Mata'utia, the veteran mentor also knows the trio have plenty of improvement left in them.


“It will just be a process from here, so when the time is right and there is lots for them to learn," he says.


“They’ve just done their first pre-season in the NRL, so they’ve just tipped the iceberg at the moment.


"But I got a fair bit of enjoyment to see the guys play a bit of football and get back to playing football.


"I thought it was a good exercise for us.


"The young players stood up and I thought it was a good opportunity to play with some of the more experienced players.


“They were really good and gave us a fair bit of encouragement for later in the year when we may need them."


Bennett was hugely impressed with Mata’utia, who showcased sheer speed and plenty of composure under the high ball.


“We think he is a wonderful talent," he says.


“He didn’t let anyone down out there and he is a more than competent footballer.”


Asked if Mata'utia will remain at fullback in the future, Bennett confirmed it was only a temporary move and he would eventually return to his more favourable winger/centre position.


“It might be a short-term gig for him, but long-term he will be a centre," he says.


“But short-term he can play there if we need him.


“I’m not saying he is ready, but we are just making some moves to potentially get him ready if we need him.”


Bennett was equally impressed with Mamo - a player with a heap of speed and skill.


“Jake is one of the three boys in the under 20s who trained with us all pre-season," he says.


“I think we’ve all seen what he has got."


Yes, and we're all looking forward to see how these rookies progress in the coming months.