After notching four games in the NRL this season, emerging forward Paterika Vaivai says he gains confidence and strength each time he runs out onto the big stage.
And he could be set to make a fifth appearance on Friday night after being named on an extended bench in a 19-man squad named for the match against the Raiders.
“It’s been really good and I’ve liked the experience,” Vaivai told Knights TV.
“I’m happy and blessed that the coaches and the staff have given me faith to play in the last couple of rounds.
“I just have to put my best foot forward and make sure I play the best I can and show the boys that I can play first grade when I do go back to Cup."
Debuting for the Club in 2014, the 23-year-old admits he was overcome by nerves in his maiden match, but has since built confidence and feels comfortable as part of the NRL line-up.
“I think the past few games when I came up against Brisbane and Cronulla, I was a lot calmer,” he said.
“My preparation was a lot better and the boys really supported me.
“I think I’ve grown in confidence and knowing that I deserve to be there.
“In the last couple of games I have tried to gel with the boys a lot better and make sure I’m part of the team."
While Vaivai didn’t play in the sides’ encounter at Hunter Stadium in Round 13, he’s aware of what to expect from the Canberra Raiders on Friday evening.
“They are a big forward pack and have some size, so we are just expecting them to come through the middle and hopefully we can stand strong,” he said.
“They have some good outside backs too."
An injury niggle meant he didn’t play in the NSW Cup’s match against Manly on Sunday, but Vaivai watched on in delight as the side managed a 48-14 win in Newcastle.
“I thought the boys played really good and Damian Sironen played a good game for his debut game,” he said.
“He ran a lot of meters and made a lot of tackles so he’s been doing really well.”