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Interview: Sam Stone

nib Newcastle Knights trainers have been tasked with bulking up a number of players this pre-season before the 2018 season kicks off.

Young forward Sam Stone has been one of them, with the 20-year-old needing to add size to his frame in a bid to match the strength of opposition forward packs.

“I finished last year at about 97 kilos and I’m at about 102 now, so about five kilos increased,” Stone said.

“I can definitely see the difference on the field… I’m a lot stronger and it makes it a bit easier.”

Adding weight been a difficult process for Stone, but the hard work has looked to pay off.

“I’ve worked really hard in the gym and on my diet trying to put on weight,” Stone explained.

“It’s hard… long hours in the gym and a lot more eating than I’m used to but I’m definitely seeing the rewards.

I can definitely see the difference on the field… I’m a lot stronger and it makes it a bit easier.

Sam Stone Second rower

“Tony (Ayoub) has been good with me and a few of the other boys who are trying to put on weight, they limit our running a little bit and it’s also more reps in the gym, so we’re in there for a lot longer.”

Despite the added weight, which at first made running a little more difficult, Stone has been able to get used to his new frame.

“I’ve gradually put the weight on, so my body has adapted over time,” Stone added.

“I’m not too bad but at the start it was a bit of a challenge.”

He believes it will add more consistency to his game.

“In defence it will make tackling those bigger bodies a lot easier and I’ll be a lot more effective,” he said.

“With the ball I also think it’s going to make me harder to tackle.

“Injury prevention will probably be better when you’re a bit stronger and hopefully I won’t be as sore as last year.”

Stone admits regular team yoga and Pilates each week also aids in his recovery.

“I don’t mind it, it has definitely helped with my flexibility and injury prevention,” he explained.

“I wasn’t very good in that particular area and I have seen some improvements there too.”

Last season Stone made his NRL debut in Round 1 and went on to notch up 16 first grade appearances for the Club.

2018 has seen a host of new recruits put on the red and blue and the youngster knows he’ll have a fight on his hands to play any NRL this season.

“It would be great if I could play as much first grade as I played last year, that’s the goal, but the team is going to be very competitive for spots throughout the year,” Stone admitted.

“The squad has a lot more depth than it ever had before and that’s only going to make for better competition at training and then if there’s an injury, there’ll always be someone to take that spot with confidence.”

The young forward has also been taking advantage of the experience that’s arrived at the Club.

“Blokes like Aidan Guerra that are in my position, they’re bringing some professionalism into the system,” said Stone.

“I’ve tried to pick their brains on a lot of little things structurally in defence and some tricks of the trade, so they’ve been very helpful.”