Every time 20-year-old Joseph Tapine gets his chance to run out in first grade for the Newcastle Knights he’s grateful for the opportunity.
The young talent has been racking up valuable experience coming off the bench into the second row over the last two matches.
In was in Round 9 last season that Tapine made his debut with the Knights while a member of the NYC Knights squad.
Since he’s trained with the NRL squad over the off-season, he was selected for the Auckland Nines tournament and has played ten games in the NRL to date.
“I’m trying to get more minutes under my belt and have tried to play more games,” Tapine told the media leading into Saturday’s match against the North Queensland Cowboys.
“I just try to play my best game every week and try to get my spot, but I don’t know if it’s secure yet.
“Every time I get the opportunity I want to give it my best.”
While he’s also established himself as one of the NSW Cup Knights' strongest performers in 2015 since graduating NYC, he’s enjoyed the step up in intensity of NRL football.
“It’s probably the speed and the fitness I need to play at that level, there’s probably a bit more talk,” he said.
“Talking is a big thing in the NRL."
As one of the youngest members of the squad, the New Zealand export says the side’s senior members have taken him under their wing to help him to develop as a player.
“The teammates carry me at training and talk to me during the games and help me out,” he said.
One of the most influential players in his time with the NRL squad has been international representative second rower Beau Scott who Tapine hopes to emulate.
“Beau gives me tests at training and talks to me. He’s out, but he’s still there in the team,” he said.
"I don’t mind any hype. I just stick with the boys and play our game and see what happens.
“It’s always good playing against people with experience; it gives you a good challenge and tests you in places you need to be tested."
Saturday April 25 – Round 8
Newcastle Knights v North Queensland Cowboys
Gates open: 11am
ANZAC Ceremony: 1.45pm
Venue: Hunter Stadium
Tickets: CLICK HERE