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After the weekend’s break, the Newcastle Knights came back for an even harder and faster fifth week of pre-season training.

The Club’s Strength and Conditioning coach Dave Ballard spoke to Knights TV on Friday to offer a recap on the week and how the squad has progressed.

“They’ve had a pretty heavy week this week coming back into it,” Ballard said.

“There were plenty of skills once again, so you’ll see they are broken into teams and doing more team based stuff rather than just the core skills.

“I think the boys are enjoying doing plenty of that.

“We also had a couple of big sessions on Tuesday and a pretty decent one yesterday and I think everyone is looking forward to the Club session tomorrow.”

Nathan Ross has shone as one of the top fitness performers since the pre-season kicked off.

“This pre-season is pretty much going as planned, everyone is ripping in and doing a good job together,” he said.

“I’m always looking to improve. I guess with my fitness I want to get a little bit fitter and another yard of speed and I’m always looking to improve my ball play.

For Ross, encouragement and motivation has come from working alongside 20-year-old Jake Mamo and skipper Kurt Gidley.

“Jake is setting the standard pretty high when it comes to speed and fitness,” he said.

“I’m trying to put myself next to him and Gids because to be the best you have to be with the best.

“Gidley has a never say die attitude and (I’ve learned) just commitment and full professionalism will get you there in the end and get you the results.

“He takes everything with professionally and does all the right things.”

Ross suffered a minor ankle sprain this week during a wrestle session.

“Danny Levi pulled the whole ‘go soft, I have a sore toe’ and the next minute I find out I’m on my back,” he said with a grin.

“It’s just a little bit of an ankle sprain but it’s not going to hold me back too much.”