Danny Levi is getting ready for one of the proudest moments of his life.
At 19-years of age he’ll become the 260th Newcastle Knight to make his debut for the Club when he runs out at Hunter Stadium to face the Cronulla Sharks.
“I’m very excited. I have a few nerves, which is normal, but I’m just keen as to get out there,” Levi told Knights TV in the lead up to the match.
New Zealand born Levi joined the Club as a starry-eyed 17-year-old half way through the Under 20s season in 2013 and progressed to captain the side to the finals the following year.
“This year I have had a couple of games in NSW Cup and now I finally get my chance in the top grade,” he said.
He completed pre-season training with the NRL squad at the start of the season and has stepped up to play with the reserve grade Knights throughout the year, two experiences he says have done wonders for his development as a player.
“When playing with NSW Cup, you have a few regular first graders up there so it’s a good test to be playing against those caliber of players," Levi said.
He credits NYC Knights’ trainers and development coaches Craig Smith and Mick Reid for contributing to his rise.
The dynamic hooker has also worked closely with Club great and assistant coach Danny Buderus to hone his skills in the number nine jersey.
“I have been working through the pre-season with Bedsy and he has helped me out heaps," he said.
"I have had a few words with (Rick) Stoney about attitude-based sort of stuff."
Levi describes the achievement as a long held dream and will treasure the opportunity to pull on the red and blue jersey as a first grade Knight.
“It’s a huge honour. There’s a lot of history in the Club, so to be able to play for the top side, it’s an amazing achievement, especially for my family back home who have helped me along the way," he added.
“I get to repay it back to them. I think it’s everyone’s goal to play NRL when you’re young."
Known for his cool head under pressure, the Junior Kiwi representative intends to approach Sunday’s big occasion like any other game.
“I’m sure I will be feeling a bit more excited than usual,” he said with a grin.
“I don’t want to play the game too early and want to focus on getting everything right at training first and putting my best foot forward during the game."
Sunday’s opportunity is also dream come true for one of his biggest supporters, his father.
“My family is pretty proud, especially dad,” he said.
“He has always followed me and was a trainer back home when I was young so he’s super excited."
On news of his possible debut match, Levi’s family were quick to book their trip across the Tasman to be there for Sunday’s game.
“They are pretty keen to have a look around Newcastle and see me play on the big stage,” he said.
"It will be special, especially with the crowd. They really get behind the team. It will be good to give back to them.”
In the mean time, Levi has channeled his energy into being the best prepared he can be for the Sharks.
“We know they have a few big forwards and we know they will be coming through the middle,” he said.
“I guess I have a big job ahead of me as well and have to make sure I do my best to stop them.”