The long wait will soon be over for nib Newcastle Knights captain Trent Hodkinson, when he leads his team out on the field against the New Zealand Warriors at Mt Smart Stadium on Sunday.

The Knights travel across the Tasman to play their 2017 NRL season opener at Auckland.

Hodkinson is excited Round 1 is finally here after a long and tough pre-season.

“The boys have worked extremely hard so they’re excited to get out there,” he said.

“Hopefully all the hard work in the pre-season pays off.”

The halfback has been impressed with the work of his teammates and his partnering with Brock Lamb in the halves.

“Brock’s been improving each week, had a great trial, a great Nines tournament and is growing in confidence,” Hodkinson said.

“He plays nice and direct, straightens our attack up and hopefully he can continue to do that and open the gaps up for blokes outside him.”

Hodkinson will also be taking aside his young forwards Sam Stone and Luke Yates as they prepare for their debut match.

“I’ve been there before and it’s a very exciting time for them and their families and no doubt they’re keen to get a go,” he explained.

“I’ll have a chat to them before we run out, can’t wait to see them in action, they’ve had a massive pre-season and worked really hard on their game.”

The skipper aware of some of the danger men the Warriors will have on offer.

“Shaun’s (Johnson) a very dangerous player and he likes to play off the cuff but they’ve got a lot of big guys, mobile guys, big outside backs right across the paddock and we can’t take them lightly,” Hodkinson said.

“They’ll be quick early so we’ll have to fight that battle early and hopefully get on top of them with our fitness.”

The Knights travel to New Zealand on Friday in preparation for Sunday’s match against the Warriors.