Sam Stone admits he’ll be excited to make his first start in an NRL game when the nib Newcastle Knights take on the North Queensland Cowboys at Townsville on Saturday.
The 19-year-old has been named in the number 12 jersey to replace the injured Jamie Buhrer.
“I am sure it will be hot and it will be a tough game but I’m really excited for it,” smiled Stone.
The Knights’ forwards said he’s confident in his form so far this season.
“I think I have done well, my transition into the NRL has been a good one from my perspective but there is definitely a lot of room for improvement,” Stone commented.
“I am going to keep working hard to keep improving.”
Noting he’ll have to bring a different mindset coming into the match.
“Mentally there is a difference in the warm up and you’re not sitting on the sidelines,” explained Stone.
“You have got to be ready to go straight away but my job doesn’t change too much and it will be a pretty similar.
“Just working hard in everything I do in defence and the kick chase and all the little things, I think that has been my biggest strength.”
He believes the key to shutting out prominent Cowboys forward Jason Taumalolo is team work.
“He is always tough to tackle and I think tackling in numbers and having a few people helping you, that’s probably the biggest thing on him,” he said.
Stone’s first game on the starting 13 will also have support from abroad, his dad, former Knights coach Rick Stone, who now coaches the Huddersfield Giants, watching on from England.
“Dad sets his alarm and gets up and watches it,” smiled Stone.
“He critiques my game, it is almost like having a second coach, he’s given me a good bit of advice along the way.”
The Newcastle Knights go into their Round 8 clash with the North Queensland Cowboys in Townsville at 1300SMILES Stadium on Saturday.