Young Newcastle Knight Josh King looks forward to testing himself against the Melbourne Storm on Sunday at Hunter Stadium.
“Being a young guy and trying to develop my game I see it as a good challenge that’s really going to test me and my ability, so I’m looking forward to playing against some of the best players in the competition,” he said.
"They are just a very disciplined side, and well coached…I am really excited to go out and play such a high quality side and test my game against theirs."
King says he’s undaunted by the opposition’s key players and instead plans to turn his attention on himself and his personal performance.
"When you’re on the football field I don’t really see them, I just see them as another player. You’re not thinking about, there’s Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk or anything like that,” he said.
“You just go out there and play your game, and that’s what I hope to do this weekend, to go out there and do the best I can and hopefully keep on developing."
He’s also looking forward to clocking up more minutes in first grade on Sunday following the side’s bye in Round 18.
"I am pretty excited to get back out on the field and the last couple of weeks I haven’t played too much footy,” he said.
"I played 40 minutes in reserve grade and only 20 minutes against Canberra and have just had the week off so it will be good to get out there and play a few minutes."
Since making his debut in Round 7 this year, the 21-year-old says the season feels like a whirlwind as he balances training with fulltime work.
"It’s crazy it has gone so fast it feels like just last weekend I was making my debut and I’ve already played six games,” King said.
“It’s just insane at the back end of last year I never expected to be where I am now."
King has made the steady progression through the grades from playing Under 20s and reserve grade and says the intensity of NRL football is still something he’s coming to grips with.
“It is different, in reserve grade I was trying to every week push out 60 plus minutes, and then going into first grade after 20 minutes you are completely buggered,” he said.
“It’s very different, but I guess it is just adapting to the pace of the game and the physicality and just developing.
"I think I am getting there, as a young guy I’m still learning and still got a long way to go, every week I am hoping to improve just a little bit more to better my game and it will hopefully help.”
While making ground on the football field, King continues with his electrical apprenticeship and works long shifts in the mines.
"I’m still just balancing it all and working it in with football and work and make up my hours where I can,” he said.
In what has now become a routine for King, on Tuesday he attended training in the morning, before dressing in his high-vis work clothes and heading straight to his second job at the mines that afternoon.
"They obviously allowed me to come this morning and I will go back to work this afternoon and do a little bit of a shift. They have been very understanding and worked in where they can,” he said.
“It’s my choice to do this and I want to finish my trade. It’s just what I’ve got to do I guess."
King officially finishes his apprenticeship at the end of next year, with the TAFE study component wrapping up at the end of this year.
Kids go free this Sunday when the Newcastle Knights take on the Melbourne Storm at Hunter Stadium. Buy your match tickets now.