It was a night of mixed emotions for Newcastle Knights’ debutant Daniel Saifiti, who has described achieving his first grade debut against the Gold Coast Titans as bitter sweet.
While he always hoped his childhood dream would involve a victory in the red and blue, there was still plenty to be proud of for the Entrance Tiger junior.
The youngster played his maiden match alongside his twin brother Jacob and added to the special occasion when he scored a try in the 69th minute.
“It was not too good not winning, but getting your first NRL game under your belt is always good,” he when the team arrived back from the Gold Coast.
The biggest highlight of the momentous event was sharing the experience with his brother.
“It was unreal. Every team you play together is a big deal for my family," he added.
"To play alongside him in an NRL game, I didn’t think it would come this soon, but I’m pretty happy about it."
The 19-year-old found solace in preparing for the big occasion at Cbus Super Stadium with his sibling which helped him maintain a calm and level head.
“We were talking to each other through the week at home and when we were warming up, we just looked at each other and said 'oh man this is actually happening',” he said.
“I tried to treat it like any other game and do all the same things I usually do so I didn’t let me teammates down with letting the occasion get to me.”
Saifiti hopes the experience is the first of many NRL games and says his prepararion will now focus on enhancing his fitness now he’s had a taste of the intensity of first grade football.
“I think just getting used to the pace. I went out there and it was different to playing under 20s and NSW Cup,” he concluded.