While change is inevitable with the arrival of any new head coach, a major difference in Nathan Brown’s playing squad at the Newcastle Knights is the overall age of the group with plenty of talented young players securing a place among the ranks of pre-season training.
With emerging players comes the type of youthful enthusiasm and drive Brown believes bodes well for the future of the Club as it moves towards the 2016 season.
“We have had a lot of younger kids who have come into the squad, which is exciting and over the course of the journey, we’ll get to see how they improve,” Brown said on Thursday.
“We have a fair batch of players who are 23, 24 and 25, who in theory, should be starting to come into the prime part of their career and with the turn over of players we only have one or two older players.
“With Snowy (Kade Snowden) and Jarrod Mullen at 28, he’s probably one of the older players now.”
One of the players Brown expects to continue to grow is 23-year-old forward Jack Stockwell who returned to training at the beginning of the week after overcoming a bicep injury, which cut short his 2015 campaign.
“We’re hopeful Jack has a good pre-season and trains well and earns a position within the team,” he said.
“He missed a lot of footy with injury last year since he’s come up from the (St George Illawarra) Dragons.
“Jack is a young kid and from a front row point, he’s still a few years off being in his prime.
“You can forget sometimes how young some of them are.
"He played first grade at a young age and off the back of some injuries, he’s probably been set back a little bit.
“If Jack has a good pre-season and a little bit of luck with the body, I’m sure he’ll have a good year for us."
Meanwhile, Scott Dureau, who played 42 games with the Newcastle Knights between 2007 and 2010 before a stint with the Catalans Dragons, has joined the football department as a mentor for the Club’s developing players.
“Scotty is looking at doing a bit of work with us and came in the last sort of week,” Brown said.
“He’s a local boy who has had a really good career overseas and is highly regarded by Trent Robinson, his last coach.
“I worked against Scotty a lot in England and he has some good skill sets, and we have lots of good young halves in the Club who need molding and hopefully he’ll play a small part in helping those guys.”