Newcastle Knight Daniel Saifiti is a young man on a mission.
Since making his debut in Round 1 this year, he’s made it his personal challenge to keep up with the hardest and most experienced forwards in the competition.
Saifiti’s quest for personal progress was well on track in Saturday’s breakthrough match against the Wests Tigers.
The 19-year-old gained 237 metres in 19 carries as well as five tackle busts in the 47 minutes he was on the field.
“I think it’s hard to say when we didn’t get the win, but I think individually, the coaches were happy which is good for me,” he said when asked if he was pleased with his latest performance.
“I’m pretty happy.”
With just seven NRL games to his name, the towering prop feels he handles the intensity and speed of first grade better with each appearance.
“As the weeks go on it gets easier and easier, not only mentally but physically as well,” he said.
“I’m getting used to playing with big men with the experience and am starting to get used to it.
“I definitely take confidence out of it in knowing if I do have a good game, I will match it with some of the good forwards in the competition.”
The next task for Newcastle Knights comes in the Parramatta Eels on Monday night at Hunter Stadium and Saifiti is determined to replicate the same gutsy performance in the Round 12 clash.
“I rate their forward packs as one of the best in the comp and it’s definitely going to be another big game as a young guy coming through,” he said.
“They do have a big forward throughout the park and I’m going to have to try my best.
“I knew my preparation was really good last week. I think if I prepare the same and have a positive mindset.
“I have to have the mindset I can do it every week.
“On the weekend it was one step forward. I do take confidence out of it and think the whole team does as well.”