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Ross dreaming of Round 1 kick-off

nib Newcastle Knights winger Nathan Ross admits this pre-season has probably been one of the hardest he’s had to do.

Now at the back end of pre-season training, the Knights are preparing for their closed trial match against the Melbourne Storm, and Parramatta Eels at Maitland in late February.

The 29-year-old said with the calibre of players that have been recruited for the 2018 season, the standard has been lifted across the board.

“We’re trending in the right direction, we’ve just got to keep working hard,” Ross commented.

“We’re starting to get our combinations down pat, we’re running and going through our sets, finding our spots on the field that we want to attack from and getting our defensive system and structures in place.

“We’re doing that under fatigue at the moment and it’s a great test to see how we all react mentally, because I think it’s only going to prepare us better for games.”

While the Knights have a completely new outfit this year, Ross is adamant there’s solidarity between the playing group for an exciting season ahead.

“Everything is coming together really well, all the new guys have bought into the culture that we’re starting to build here and a few of them are already in the leadership group,” he added.

“There’s no egos involved here at the moment… we know we’ve had a few tough years and we’ve all got a collective goal.

“When everyone has a positive attitude, that’s when you get good results.”

And while the fan favourite was a mainstay on the roster last year, he’s well aware of the pressure below to perform well and retain that starting spot.

“Nothing is given at this point in time, especially in the outside backs,” maintained Ross.

“The depth is huge, so if you don’t trial well and you don’t turn up to a training session, someone can just slip into that spot.

“Everyone here is genuine first graders so we’re pushing each other and its good healthy competition.

“A lot of the young fellas are stepping up; Cory Denniss has been tremendous this pre-season, so has young Nick Meaney and Tom Hughes; they’re pushing players like Ken Sio, Shaun Kenny-Dowall and myself every day.”

And one thing for sure, the flamboyant winger can’t wait to get out on the field, to the roar of the red and blue supporters.

“I’m prepared, I’m always prepared and I’m ready to go,” smiled Ross.

“I have been dreaming of Round 1 since the season ended, so let me at them.”