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As the Newcastle Knights wrap up week four of pre-season training, strength and conditioning coach Dave Ballard is back to talk through the week’s progress.

“We kicked off on Monday with speed once again and got some really good quality out of the boys,” Ballard said.

There was plenty of variety throughout the week with the squad venturing from their training paddock to push themselves in a challenging hills session.

“On Tuesday we headed off to King Edward Park to mix it up a bit with a conditioning session," he added.

“We had a fair session out there and it was quite tough, especially with the big boys up the hill, then we did a little bit of defense work on the beach."

The playing squad now has some down time on Saturday and Sunday to rest and recuperate before firing up again on Monday.

New recruit Tariq Sims, who has moved to the Knights from the North Queensland Cowboys says he's enjoyed working in his new team and learning from the Club's training staff.

“It’s been tough and you’ve definitely been putting us through our paces,” Sims told Ballard on Knights TV.

“It’s been really good, and the boys have been really accepting and the coaching staff that’s involved down here is very positive, so I’m looking forward to learning on and off the field."

One of the more grueling sessions so far for the 24-year-old was the hill and beach training on Tuesday.

“It was tough. I know a few of us big boys were struggling but Kurt Gidley was definitely leading the way," Sims added.

“The pre-season can be so repetitive, so it was good to get down to King Edward Park, to sort of get flogged on a different basis.

“We ended up going for a swim at the end of it so it was all good in the end."

Sims looks forward to rivalry between his teammates for positions and says competition between big names like Beau Scott and Jeremy Smith will push him to train harder.

“Everyone knows that I have a bit of time off at the start of the next year, so the boys will be doing their best to fight for positions," he said.

“Make no mistake, I’ll be trying my best to get back into the starting side come Round 5.”

On Friday the Knights chose to wear black armbands at training as a mark of respect for Phillip Hughes and his family.