Newcastle Knight Tyler Randell has shed light on what to expect from a fresh faced Knights line-up in 2016, as the team builds for the season opening match.
With five NRL debutants and seven representing the Club for the first time in the Telstra Premiership, Randell admits the exciting occasion will bring its fair share of the unknown.
But he believes that’s even more motivation for the Knights to deliver a gutsy and determined performance when the side faces the Gold Coast Titans on Sunday.
“It’s a very well documented young team and a lot of debutants there, so I think we need to make a statement straight from the get-go,” Randell said after Thursday morning’s training session.
“I don’t think anyone reads into what people say about how we’re going to go.
“We have a young team and no one knows what to expects which is a good thing. The only way is up. We need to compete hard every minute of the game.
“Just because we are a new look team, there are no excuses for not competing on every play. If it doesn’t go our way, it doesn’t matter, as long as we are competing.”
2015 proved to be a transformative year of growth for the 23-year-old who was subsequently bestowed a leadership role within the team with the arrival of coach Nathan Brown.
“A lot has changed in the pre-season, there have been a lot of young fellas coming through, so to be part of the leadership group and to be starting this weekend, I’m feeling pretty good about it,” Randell said.
“I don’t think I do anything special or out of the ordinary, I just try, through the pre-season to train as hard as I can and try to lead by a bit of example with some of the younger guys.”
Most of his attention of late has fallen on developing in the hooking role under the knowledgeable guidance of two former number nines in the coaching ranks.
Now after countless hours of plying his trade on the training paddock, what he hopes to display this season is a more creative a dominant style of play.
“Having Nathan (Brown) and Danny (Buderus) there at hooker, my game as a dummy half will evolve a little bit,” he said.
“I think I was a little bit passive playing hooker. This year they’ve put some faith in me to try to back myself a bit more and be more creative around that hooking position.
“It’s about backing myself.
“Nathan had a bit of a talk to me about being more selfish at hooker instead of always listening about what’s happening and try to play of the cuff a bit and things will come of that.”
The Newcastle Knights kick off season 2015 at Cbus Super Stadium against the Gold Coast Titans at 5.30pm (local time) on Sunday.