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This time last year, within a matter of days, Jack Stockwell had been released from his contract with the St George Illawarra Dragons, moved to Newcastle and had embraced a fresh start at the Newcastle Knights.

A year later and the 23-year-old feels well and truly at home in the red and blue and is determined to make an even bigger impact within the team in 2016.

Stockwell’s 2015 season started strong with the towering forward making consistent appearances as one of the Knights’ interchange forwards. 

But his season then ground to an unfortunate halt when he suffered a ruptured bicep in Round 13.

Then began the challenging test of rehabilitation to regain strength after injury repairing surgery. 

“All I did over the off-season was rehab. I was just in the gym trying to get it right for the start of pre-season,” Stockwell told Knights TV this week. 

“We started on Monday easing back into a bit of contact, but otherwise I’m full training, which is awesome. 

“It was actually pretty good keeping up with rehab and gave me something to do in the off-season. 

“Instead of sitting at home all day, or instead of mowing the lawn, I was here in the gym working on it which helped me both mentally and physically.”

The first day of pre-season training marked major progress for Stockwell.

“Yesterday I eased back into my first contact session,” he said.

“I pulled up a little sore, but that’s to be expected coming back from an injury like that.

“I’m looking forward to getting into the next couple of weeks and seeing how it goes.” 

Since returning to training with the playing group, there’s been a number of changes at the Club including the appointment of coach Nathan Brown as well as the addition of a number of new teammates. 

“It’s been a little bit of change, but not too drastic. It’s not an overall change, just a few things here and there, but I’m liking it,” he said. 

“It’s going really well and I think they (new recruits) are fitting in well into the playing group."

Sitting on the sideline has been tough for Stockwell, so his main objective is to regain fitness and get back to where he was before his season ending injury.

“My goal is to get through the pre-season unscathed and get my arm through the pre-season and get ready for round one next year,” he said.

“It’s supposed to be a tough one, and I think all the boys are looking forward to it.

“The coaching staff has promised it’s going to be a hard slog.

“The whole coaching staff has been good and I’m looking forward to what happens in the next couple of weeks with training.”

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