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While the Newcastle Knights are accustomed to performing on the big stage under lights, they entered another world on Tuesday when they were invited to take part in a back stage training experience with the performers of Cirque du Soleil. 

After absorbing the internationally acclaimed show, Quidam, from the audience just days before at the Newcastle Entertainment Centre, the players were eager to learn more about the circus and get a hands on demonstration of the performers’ incredible skill and strength.

Knights Robbie Rochow, Korbin Sims, Dane Gagai, Nathan Ross, Trent Hodkinson, Jarrod Mullen and Jaelen Feeney were put through their paces when they performed a range of impressive circus acts which took advantage of the players’ strength and balance. 

From balancing flexible acrobats on their shoulders and head, scaling up suspended ropes to taking part in delicately timed skipping stunts, the players were thrilled to show off their hidden circus performing skills.

While perplexed by the awe-inspiring stunts, the players showed a great appreciation for the performers as fellow athletes.  

“(It was great) seeing them train and seeing Dane (Gagai) climb that rope,” Rochow said after the session. 

Gagai added, “Being able to see what they do behind the scenes, it was very professional and full on."

While Feeney said, “It was good meeting everyone and good to see the faces behind the acts out there."

 A highlight of the high energy session was when internationally recognised jump rope performer, Kata Banhegyi, called in the players’ help with her group-skipping act.

Kata began skipping when she was six-years-old and has developed her incredible talent for more than half her life before incorporating the entertaining spectacle into the Cirque du Soleil show. 

“It was very good and I was impressed with everybody,” Banhegyi told Nathan Ross for Knights TV. 

“I think some of you are very talented and for skipping, you’re all good because you jump high because you have strong legs.” 

Cirque de Soleil performances at Newcastle Entertainment Centre continue until January 24. For more information about the show, click here.