With the final trial match of the pre-season against the Canberra Raiders looming, Knights TV sat down with Physical Performance Manager Tony Ayoub to discuss how the squad is progressing.
A 22-man squad was named for this trial match earlier in the week, and the players will be travelling down to Queanbeyan on Friday morning.
They will arrive in town a little over 24-hours before the trial match is scheduled to kick off, and Ayoub said measures would have to be taken to ensure the players are ready to perform to their potential.
“Against a really good side like Canberra we’ll need to compete, and compete for a long period of time,” he said.
“A five-hour bus trip isn’t ideal, but the boys get to bond.
“We’ll stop halfway, have a good stretch and then when we get there the hotel has a pool and we can do some recovery.”
With the Raiders having named a squad of 32, it’s clear that not too many of their players will be clocking over 40 minutes.
Ayoub said everyone in the Knights’ squad could expect to get some game time, but some players would be getting tested for a longer period of time.
“The coaches have some ideas about how many minutes they want different individuals to play,” he explained.
“Obviously we want our middle players to play as much as possible.
“We’re expecting all of our 22 players to get some time, but all of our players should be able to do 80 minutes if we need them to.”
Tyler Randell and Jaelen Feeney
It’s not good news for several players this weekend, with Tyler Randell and Jaelen Feeney omitted from the squad due to injuries.
Randell is recovering from a Grade 1 hamstring strain.
“He could have played at a pinch,” Ayoub said of the utility.
“Just given that it’s this time of the year, we don’t want to take any risks with them.
“He wanted to play, but I just didn’t think it was worth the risk.”
It’s going to be a longer lay-off for Feeney however, who was injured in training earlier this week.
“Unfortunately Jaelen had a little tweak of his knee on Tuesday,” Ayoub said.
“He saw an orthopaedic surgeon and unfortunately he has a cartilage tear.
“It’s only tiny, but it’s enough that he’ll need to have surgery and hopefully he’ll be able to take his spot in four week’s time.”
Wardle is into his third week of life in Australia, and the Englishman has impressed in his recovery from microfracture surgery.
“He’s coming along well but I don’t think he’s enjoying the heat to be honest,” Ayoub joked.
“It’s certainly different to the climate in England.
“He’s got a good physique that we can work with and he’s doing all these extra sessions in the gym that he wants to do.
“We still think that he’s four to five weeks away.”