With a few short weeks before the squad breaks for Christmas, coach Nathan Brown has provided an update on how pre-season has been tracking.
The Newcastle Knights resumed pre-season training last month and have been focused on conditioning and fitness sessions as well as working on the coach’s new defensive principles.
“It’s been interesting and has been a learning curve for myself and the staff and probably for the players as well,” Brown said.
“We’ve had a lot of older players who have moved on and been replenished with a lot of younger players."
Six weeks into full time training, Brown is pleased with how the Club’s rookies are managing the higher workloads.
“It’s always tough, but their bodies are adapting and adjusting to the demands of training okay,” he said.
“As a whole all the guys have bought into everything we’re trying to do. A whole lot of us have a lot of work to do.
“We’re really comfortable the guys are committed to wanting to improve."
The influx of youth into the side has opened the opportunity for the Knights’ experienced heads to step into mentoring roles.
“There’s the older end of the squad to look up to like Aku (Uate), and (Dane) Gagai who are more experienced and higher profile players,” he explained.
“They have started off quite well with working together.
“Then you can drop down to our youngest members of the squad in Jack Cogger and Brock Lamb who are both training really well and who are only just 18 and have just finished school and are currently in their first full pre-season.
"As a whole I wouldn’t really like to single out any one person, a lot of the other guys are adapting and putting a concerted effort in.
“Some of the more experienced players are setting a good example and helping the younger ones."
In the injury department, both Jack Stockwell (lower leg) and Jaelen Feeney (elbow) have made positive progress.
“Jalean is back in training but is non-contact,” the coach said.
“His arm injury is improving quite well and he took part in a fair bit of today’s training and has taken part in most things.
“Jack is improving and will start running as early as next week.
“He’ll have to work fairly heavily up to Christmas and after Christmas he’ll resume with the team after everything has gone to plan."
While Christmas is just around the corner, according to Brown, the side will maintain its high intensity training right into the break.
“It will be a tough week next week. The guys worked fairly hard last week and this week has been not as hard as last week,” he said.
“But next week will be a very hard week for the guys then they’ve got a couple of days the week after before they get a break before Christmas.”