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nib Newcastle Knights forward Pauli Pauli is hopeful of returning from injury early in the 2017 NRL season.

Pauli has been recovering from a serious car accident in January, where he dislocated his hip.

“I am feeling a lot better from day one and I’m starting to walk now, hopefully running some time this week or next week, so I’m recovering really well,” he told Knights TV.

“The first couple of weeks were pretty hard but as you train more each day, you start getting fitter and better. I’m getting there slowly.”

At present Pauli is continuing his rehabilitation in the gym but his return to team training isn’t too far away.

“I haven’t done any team stuff yet but I’m hoping in the next couple of weeks I’ll be able to team up with the boys again and run out with them,” he said.

The 22-year-old has been diligent with his rehabilitation program.

“I’ve been training hard just to keep myself fit and ready to get back onto the field,” said Pauli.

“I can’t wait to get back and help the boys out.

“Hopefully round three, if it’s a bit longer we’ll have to wait a bit longer, but I’m just excited to come back. It’s been a long rehab run for me.”

There’s no doubt Pauli will be cheering on the Knights this Sunday when they clash with the New Zealand Warriors at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland.

“I hope they get up and I hope we have a great season too,” Pauli concluded.