Saifitis set for twin debut
Twins Jacob and Daniel Saifiti do practically everything together.
The brothers are set to continue that trend when they make their NRL debut with the Newcastle Knights on Sunday.
It’s been a rapid rise for the tall forwards, who have only just completed their first stint training fulltime with the NRL squad.
“To be a part of the week with the boys and training out there, and looking across the field at guys like Jeremy Smith, it still hasn’t sunk in yet,” Daniel told Knights TV.
“It’s so surreal and I’m very blessed.”
The high achieving Knights, who were born in Newcastle but grew up on the Central Coast, considered it a personal challenge when head coach Nathan Brown indicated at the start of the pre-season that first grade spots where up for grabs for anyone who was willing to work hard.
“Browny made it pretty clear, not just to us but to everyone, that he’s not going to chose a side on reputation or how much money we’re on, he’s going to go on merit,” Jacob said.
“When we found out that, we put our hand up and we really wanted it.
“I suppose that clicked and we just tried our best from there."
When asked how they captured the attention of coach Brown, Daniel said, “I think effort was mainly our thing. Last year, he sat us down and said we can play first grade next year, but it’s up to us when we play and how much game time we get."
“I was hoping for maybe one or two games throughout the year, through injuries and things like that, but to be starting first round, no way,” Jacob added.
“I think we just gave our best really.”
The news of the duo’s debut was met with a jubilant reaction from the Saifiti family.
“We went back to the coast on Friday and told our family and they all started crying,” Daniel said.
Now the pair can’t wait to take the NRL stage in the red and blue jersey and plan to represent themselves, their family and the Club with pride.
“It’s pretty unreal and everyone is excited about it,” Daniel continued.
“Especially that it’s not just one of us playing, that it’s both of us and I think that’s the main thing for us.
“I don’t want to let the occasion get to me and let my teammates down.
“I will treat it like any other game and prepare like I would. I’ll do all the little things throughout the week like sleep well and eat well.
“I will listen to the older boys and see what they have to say and will go from there.”
The Newcastle Knights kick off season 2016 with a Round 1 match against the Gold Coast Titans at Cbus Super Stadium on Sunday from 5.30pm.