If you thought Dane Gagai was good last season, well wait until you see him in action in 2014.
That’s the message from Knights’ skipper Kurt Gidley, who is predicting Gagai to carve up this year on the back of a strong pre-season of training.
The Mackay-born flyer also attended a camp at the Michael Johnson Performance-Athletic Training Center in the USA over the summer and Gidley reckons he has returned to the Club fitter and more focused than ever before.
"I've been really impressed with Dane," Gidley beams.
"I think he has been the best athlete I’ve seen through the pre-season.
"He did a little trip to America and did some specialised training at a camp over there with Alex McKinnon and Robbie Rochow.
"The way Dane has come back, he is quick and he is the fittest I’ve ever seen him.
"He is strong in the gym too, so he is great on his footwork and he is just a great athlete."
Gagai says he learnt a heap at the Johnson camp, especially about some of the finer details of training that you can often take for granted.
Now as a result of the specialised training, the Knights' centre says is self-confidence has risen tenfold.
"Whether it be a small agility drill before training, I'm just trying to make myself better," Gagai insists.
"That's all I can really do is try and become the best player I can.
"And the way that I do that is give 110 per cent in whatever I'm doing.
"I can only really focus on what I can control and that's myself. So I'm just going to try and make myself the best player I know I can be for the team and then hopefully I can have a successful season."
Gagai will line-up in the centres when Newcastle meets the First Nations Goannas at Hunter Stadium on Saturday, his first match since last year's Preliminary Final loss against the Roosters.
"It will be a good little wake-up call to see where I'm at playing wise," he says.
"I'm expecting them (the Goannas) to come out hard. I know if I was on the other end trying to come up against some Newcastle Knights players, then I would want to impress.
"So it's going to be a great game and I'm really looking forward to it because there is a lot of pride.
"You are not just representing yourself or your people, you are representing what indigenous people stand for.
"I’m looking forward to going out and giving everything we’ve got and hopefully doing all of those people and ourselves proud."
Tickets are on sale through Ticketmaster for Saturday's trial at Hunter Stadium, or at the gate when you arrive.