Newcastle may have been bundled out in the quarter-final stages of the NRL Auckland Nines against Brisbane, but Jarrod Mullen is adamant the players did themselves proud at the inaugural tournament.
The 26-year-old says the Club learnt plenty about the new fast-paced concept and admits they'll be better for the experience next year.
"We had to open the whole tournament and we sort of didn’t know what we were doing out there," Mullen said on arrival back in Newcastle on Monday afternoon.
"But then we got the hang of it after watching a few games and seeing what everyone else was doing.
"We were playing some good nines footy towards the end there, so I was pretty gutted to bail out.
"Hopefully we can go better next year.”
Mullen says he thoroughly enjoyed the Auckland Nines and is happy the event will be around for at least another three years.
"It was a great atmosphere," he says.
"They put on a real good show over in Auckland and I’m glad it’s here for another three years with the option of five.
"The crowd were buzzing the whole time and everyone dressed up and had a good time, so it was like one big party.
"It was also good to get away with the team and get some bonding before the season starts."
Despite the challenge of backing up to four face-paced, physical matches over the weekend, there’s little time to rest.
It’s back to business for the Knights who will face up to training again on Tuesday in preparation for the team’s trial match on Saturday in Tamworth against the Canberra Raiders.