nib Newcastle Knights coach Nathan Brown continues to instil confidence in his young players with the selection of two debutants for Sunday’s season opening match against the New Zealand Warriors.

West Newcastle junior Luke Yates is on Brown’s radar and believes he’s got the determination to mix it with the best.

“Young Yatesy is determined on sheer hard work,” Brown said.

“This time last year I honestly wouldn’t have thought he’d be playing first grade.

“In September, October, when a lot of people were holidaying, I don’t think he missed a day’s training.

“He’s made some really good improvements and he’s such a determined type of kid and I don’t think there is a person in the Club that doesn’t want to see him there.”

The 21-year-old forward has been included in this weekend’s season opener against the New Zealand Warriors at Mt Smart Stadium.

The Knights coach believes that players like Yates are a good influence on the squad.

“Blokes like Yatesy are hungry and desperate to play for the Club, that’s what can help make the Club and everyone is keen to see him play,” he said.

Brown feels his positive attitude has strengthened his ability on the field.

“He’s certainly made some adjustments in some areas which certainly proved me wrong,” he admitted.

“People that are determined and hungry can prove you wrong and as a coach I’d rather be proven wrong sometimes.”

Brown has maintained that young forward Sam Stone, whose also been named in the squad for Sunday’s match, has shown a lot of potential.

“Sam’s trained extremely well, he understands the game very well,” he said.

“He’s been around the game his whole life, ever since he’s been born his old man’s probably been coaching so he’s got a nice understanding of the game.”