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As the Newcastle Knights count down to the Auckland Nines next week, Strength and Conditioning coach Dave Ballard was joined by Pat Vaivai to review Week 12 of the pre-season.

Ballard explains it was business as usual for this week's traning program besides the team taking its training session to Myuna Bay Sport and Recreation Centre for the official opening of a refurbished sports field. 

"The Knights headed down there and tested the fields out and also had a coaching clinic," Ballard said.

"This morning (Friday) we did a little bit of Nines work and will brush up on that before we go next week.

"They will get the long weekend off after Australia Day which they will probably deserve after a few tough weeks."

Ballard looked back on the week and pre-season with Pat Vavai, who made his NRL debut in Round 9 last season and was a integral part of the NSW Cup Knights' run to the grand final. 

Vaivai has knuckled down during the pre-season and has been rewarded with a spot in the Knights Auckland Nines squad. 

"Pre-season has been pretty good and all the boys are working really hard," Vaivai said. 

"We are all working together and enjoying it." 

The front rower admits he's taken plenty of lessons from Kade Snowden during the pre-season. 

"He's played a lot of rep games and has a lot of experience, so he's the man right there," he said. 

Vaivai has also proved one of the big performers in the gym recording massive efforts among the team in the leg squat. 

The 22-year-old now builds for one of the most exciting opportunities of his career so far and the chance to return to his hometown of Auckland. 

"I'm pretty keen for it and it will be a good experience for me and I'll get some fitness under my belt too," he added. 

"I'm pretty excited for it." 

The Knights return to training on Tuesday before travelling to New Zealand on Thursday. The Nines squad will have a training session on the Friday before the tournament on Saturday morning.