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The next generation of Newcastle Knights juniors will receive the ultimate rugby league education as part of a special High Performance program.     

Launched at Knights HQ at Wests Mayfield by Performance Directors Col Sanctuary and Troy Pezet recently, the program is designed to prepare junior players for the full-time rigours of the NRL competition.   

With the guidance of the HPU team and other professionals in their field, the gifted youngsters will be put through 15 workshops every Wednesday for the next two months to enhance their technical, physical, nutritional and mental knowledge. 

The program will also incorporate organised training sessions for the players, plus additional work to be completed in their own time.  

Knights' coach Wayne Bennett spoke at the launch, encouraging the juniors to make the most of the program and the invaluable opportunities it will provide.  

It's a message backed up by Pezet, who says the Club is determined to not only produce good footballers but also good humans.   

"With the help of Wayne (Bennett) and Phil Matthews our Culture Manager we saw the importance of being able to develop our young players as people and not just footballers," Pezet explains about the program, which will also be overseen by career coach Dean Noonan.

"If they are our best kids that we are going to take forward, then it's just as important to have good kids as it is to have good players.

"It also offers another point of difference that we are doing that perhaps another people aren't.   

"They get so much footy all of the time through strength and conditioning, but personal development away from football is also very important.

"So on top of taking them to live games, we'll also go through diet and cooking lessons with our Club nutritionist Rachel Svenson, media and even what it takes to mentally achieve at the highest level.

"So it's really all inclusive now and it's a great chance for our players to gain a broad knowledge and skill base."

The emerging players will also gain invaluable insight from Joanne Ford, a former professional dancer turned teacher at Hunter TAFE.                

Pezet says Ford's inclusion was organised to give the rising players an understanding of how other athletes achieve at the highest level.               

"I think for a dance teacher it's about being able to express yourself and be confident," he says.

"There are a lot of different components that they went through with her about being a professional and how to deal with setbacks and success.

"It just gives them a bit of diversity away from football." 

As Pezet says, it's just all part of the plan to help make the next generation of Knights the complete package.