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Josh King is the NRL rookie who is a throwback to rugby league's "good old days" - when first-grade footy provided players with a little extra pocket money to complement their normal salary.

His name suggests blue blood but King is more blue collar; hailing from the working-class town of Singleton in the New South Wales Hunter Valley, he's earning rave reviews on the football park but it's in the Bulga coal mine near Newcastle where the Knights prop plies his real trade.

"At the moment I'm doing my electrical apprenticeship so I work fulltime, then on a Friday I go to TAFE for my trade," King tells ESPN.

"Sometimes I'll go to Newcastle and I won't come home for a week because I'll go to TAFE, I'll have training and I'll fly to Townsville or something to play footy.

"I usually have to have a few bags packed to get me around but I manage."

Like most young boys, King first started playing rugby league because it's what his mates did; never did he consider it would lead to a potentially lucrative living.

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