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This week saw the launch of another specialised program within the nib Newcastle Knights’ Elite Pathways program, with a camp staged for external players.

Nine promising young players from New South Wales, Queensland and New Zealand came to Knights HQ on Tuesday morning, and have spent four days showing their skills and learning what it takes to become a professional footballer.

“We’ve done some testing with them, exposed them to some of our wellbeing and education protocols and processes, and seen how they measure up physically,” Elite Pathways Recruitment Manager Troy Pezet explained.

“It’s been a pretty intense week for the boys, but I think they’ve all got a lot out of it.”

Two of the players come from the New Zealand Under 15s and Under 17s teams, and were flown over by the Club for the training camp.

It was 15-year-old Sam Kamu’s first visit to Australia, and he said it was an exciting process to be a part of.

“It’s been really good,” he said.

“The Knights contacted me after I did a training camp back home in Auckland.”

“We’ve been doing a little bit of fitness, working on our contact, tackling technique and ball skills.

Pezet said the group was kept quite small so that each player could maximise their learning experience, and that the players would be able to demonstrate what they’ve learnt in a trial match this weekend.

“You can spend some more quality time with a smaller group,” he explained.

“Scott Dureau (Development Coach) and Matt Toohey (Youth Physical Development Manager) have done a lot of one-on-one coaching and video.

“This Saturday we have a junior trial against the Raiders, so these boys will have the opportunity to play in this trial with our Harold Matthews and SG Ball boys.”

Pezet also said the pilot program should be considered a success, and that the Club would continue to monitor the players’ development as they become eligible for the Knights’ Harold Matthews and SG Ball sides.

“They’ve been a good group to work with and I think it’s something that we’ll continue to do,” he said.