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The Newcastle Knights concluded pre-season training at the University of Newcastle on Tuesday with the coaching staff putting the players through their paces with some Nines-focused drills as well as a beep test.

Performance Director Colin Sanctuary took some time out to talk to Knights TV about who he thought were the best performers and the biggest improvers in the grueling test of stamina.

 “Top of the tree was young forward Joe Tapine, and then we had some other strong performers in Nathan Ross and Beau Scott,” Sanctuary explained.

 “Jarrod Mullen, Kurt Gidley and Jake Mamo were probably our star performers before (in the first pre-season beep test in November), but with the Nines coming up we thought it was prudent to pull those guys out.

 “I think as a group the boys worked really well.

 “It sounds a bit cliché but there’s a really nice feel about the whole group.”

 In terms of Nines-specific drills, more than one of the players caught Sanctuary’s eye.

 “The Nines will be a great challenge for some of the boys – the likes of Tyrone Roberts, Dane Gagai and Pat Vavai,” he said.

 “It’s probably their forte, that footwork and power off the mark.”

 The Knights have a final training session at Wests Mayfield on Wednesday before leaving for Auckland on Thursday.


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