Saifiti signings boost Knights
Since arriving at the Newcastle Knights, coach Nathan Brown has articulated a clear vision that young, local players would be been given an opportunity at the Club.
That strategy for the future has come to life this week with talented tyros Daniel and Jacob Saifiti extending their contracts to remain at the Club until at least the end of season 2018.
“It’s great news for the Club and obviously we have a bit of a plan in place for the next two or three years for the Club to move forward,” Brown said.
“Thankfully Jacob and Daniel were very keen to stay in Newcastle and their agent was very keen for them to stay in Newcastle.
“It’s good to have some guys on contract at the Club that want to be here for the right reasons.
“I’m sure that can only help the Club move forward.”
The Central Coast bred brothers boast incredible size and skill that Brown foresees will only increase as they spend more time in the NRL.
“They have plenty of good attributes and can both bring different things to the table,” he said.
“They both have good discipline and work hard on their game, they are quite big and as most of the Fijian boys are, they are reasonably athletic as well.”
While the 20-year-old twins have plenty of similarities, they offer different qualities on the football field.
“Daniel is definitely more of a front rower and Jake can play a little wider,” he said.
“They are a little bit different as far as their athleticism and speed goes.
“They are both big boys, understand the game well and want to get better and maximize their potential.
“I’m sure over the next two or three years we will see the boys improve a lot.”
The fact the Saifitis, as well as a raft of other developing players like Sione Mata’utia, Danny Levi and Jack Cogger have made long term commitments to the Club, bodes well for the Club's future according to Brown.
“I think it’s a great boost for everyone at the Club,” he said.
“They are there on longer terms and a lot of the younger players who have come through the Club are very talented players,” he said.
For all our younger players, we need them to want to play at the Club rather than be here for more money so we can put the right players around them.
“The better players we put around them will only help their game improve."
In a fitting reward for recent strong form, this weekend marks the first time the brothers will take the field as members of the Knights' starting line-up with Daniel and Jacob named in the front and second row respectively.
Last week the pair were selected to represent Fiji in the representative round, with Jacob sitting out of the Test match due to a shoulder complaint.
“Jacob had the week off and wasn’t quite fit enough for Fiji,’ Brown explained.
“Daniel played for Fiji and was one of their best performers so I’m sure that will benefit Daniel.”
It’s been a rapid rise for the brothers who this time last year had only a few months of NYC football under their belt.
“There are a number of players that come out a little quicker than what people think,” he said.
“In our case, if we did have injuries or not, we would have wanted Jake and Daniel to play a certain number of games to see where they are at.
“Fortunately for the boys they are holding their hands up well and fortunately for us they have played a fair bit more than they probably thought they would have.
“It’s a bit of a credit to what they have done in the pre-season with the way they have performed.”