Newcastle Knight Jaelen Feeney says he has lapped up every moment of training with the NRL squad during the pre-season since graduating from the Under 20s NYC competition last year.
The under 20s Queensland Origin representative has built on his on field success by achieving a number of personal goals during the past 14 weeks of the pre-season.
“I’ve found it very rewarding to step up and achieve what I wanted to,” Feeney told strength and conditioning coach Dave Ballard on Friday.
“I’ve loved the experience and playing with the big boys, feeding off them and them giving me feedback all the time.
“There’s plenty of experienced players and experienced coaching staff.
“I have definitely enjoyed pre-season so far and hopefully I can take it that one step further into the season.”
The 21-year-old halfback has made the most of working alongside Jarrod Mullen and Tyrone Roberts with the aim to improve his game in the halves.
“I have definitely learned off Jarrod Mullen’s numbers, he’s very fit and I’d like to get my fitness level to where he’s at," he added.
"Strength-wise, I’m a bigger halfback, but I could definitely improve in my strength.
"I’ve learned that I have to be a lot fitter to play in first grade."
He’s also created stronger bonds with his teammates during the pre-season especially with his housemate Dane Gagai and new recruit Jack Stockwell.
“I hang around them a lot,” Feeney said.
Feeney looks set to play in the trial match in Wauchope next Saturday.
"I’m so keen to get out against Wauchope next week, all the training that you do, you just want to get back on the field," he said.
“I can’t wait to do that."
Meanwhile, Ballard reviewed Week 14 which saw the training squad boosted to full strength after players who represented in the Auckland Nines returned to Knights HQ on Monday.
“The boys come back on Monday and we have brought them back slowly after a few knocks and bruises on the weekend,” Ballard said.
“The guys that stayed back in Oz kept up with their training and did a bit of fitness work to keep them ticking over.
“On Wednesday they had a bit of recovery, then on Thursday they got back into it."