Hooker Levi makes his mark

Newcastle Knight Danny Levi is doing his best to stake a claim in first grade.

The dynamic hooker, with just nine NRL games to his name, played 72 minutes on Saturday against the Canberra Raiders and topped the Knights’ tackle count.

After the confidence boosting contest, the Knights hit the training track with added enthusiasm, eager to get the most out of an extended turn around into their Round 4 New Zealand Warriors game on Monday.

“It was a more positive vibe and the intensity was high,” he told Knights TV on Thursday. 

“I feel like my fitness has improved which has given me the chance to stay out on the field longer.

“Hopefully I can keep improving and bust out a full game.”

Levi credits much of his development to coaching sessions with celebrated ex- Knights’ hooker and current assistant coach, Danny Buderus. 

“I’ve been working with Bedsy (Buderus) a lot. We’ve just been sponging off him,” he said. 

“I have learned heaps and have put into my game and it’s definitely helping out my game.” 

The preparedness and assurance gained from working closely with Buderus came to the fore when the side faced 10 minutes of golden point football on Saturday evening. 

“I was pretty tired, but was pretty pumped for it. The crowd really got behind us,” he said about the side’s first game at Hunter Stadium for 2016.

“It was Mullo’s (Jarrod Mullen) 200th, so it was another reason we had to push through, for him. 

“It was exciting and the first time I’ve ever had to do that.”

While the result settled in a hard-fought 24-24 draw, the 20-year-old has noticed a lift in the atmosphere around the team this week. 

“We will take a lot of confidence and are going over there with an attitude to win, not just compete,” he said. 

“It should be good, the boys are pretty ramped up for it." 

The action on the football field is not the only thing Levi looks forward to about the Round 4 match up.

The Wellington born Kiwi is eager to return to his homeland over the Easter period. 

“Even though it’s not my home city, it’s good to get back home for a bit,” he said. 

“I like going home food and it’s good to hear a proper accent. 

“My parents can’t make it up this time but I’m sure they’ll be there in spirit.”

He expects the side’s youngest members, some who will experience their first big away trip with the NRL team, to relish every minute. 

“I think they will really enjoy it. I enjoyed it for my first time,” he said. 

“They love going away with the boys and the hype around big games like this. 

“They are all looking to go out firing.”