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“I kept training in the off season but nothing prepares you for the first day of heavy weights and the running,” Newcastle Knight Jarrod Mullen said on Monday after the team’s first on-field pre-season training session.

“It’s good to get back and a have some routine back in your life and see the boys and the new faces.

“There’s a good feeling around the Club at the moment, obviously it’s only first day, but it’s good to get into the routine of things.”

Mullen missed much of last season after suffering a toe injury that required surgery in July.

But the five-eighth assures he’s recovered well and is confident the longer he’s back on his feet the stronger he’ll be. 

“I was a bit worried in the off-season and did a couple of runs and it wasn’t feeling that good.

“The more running I do the more scar tissue I break off it and it’s feeling really good."

Mullen is most excited about developing a good relationship with the Club’s new recruit, and his halves partner, Trent Hodkinson.

“I’ve met him before and hung out with him so we all know each other and I’ve played with (new signing) Mickey Paea in the past too.

“It’s good to have those boys at the Club and Hodko (Hodkinson) will help my game out a hell of a lot and I’m looking to form a good partnership with him.”

While the start of pre-season always presents a challenge, the team is also adjusting to new head coach Nathan Brown and his training staff. 

“It’s a whole new look. A lot of the staff are new too so it’s about getting to know them and their personalities,” he said.

"He’s (Brown) a bit of a hard taskmaster which is good and what the team needs at the moment to get us back on track. 

"I think it’s great what he’s trying to do at the Club and hopefully everyone abides by it and we can back up that ladder.

“We worked on defence today and our defensive principles are going to change a bit."

Meanwhile, Mullen is pleased to be training alongside a number of the Club’s rookies in what is their first fulltime NRL pre-season training.

“I think the kids are getting in a lot better stead for first grade training now that there’s the 20s system,” he said,

“They have been put through the Knights' system from a young age and know what’s expected from them.

“They come up and train with us and know what’s going on and are a lot more mature for it.”

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