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King ramps up intensity for trials

nib Newcastle Knights prop Josh King has relished the opposed sessions against teammates in the last month of pre-season training.

The 22-year-old admits it has been valuable before their first upcoming trial against the Melbourne Storm.

“This year has been good with the in-house trials we’ve been having because that’s when you start to blow the cobwebs out and get back in to footy mode,” King added.

“Having played two or three in-house trials against each other, we have been able to do that ahead of time, so I feel a lot more comfortable going into trials.

“The Melbourne game is our first proper hit out of footy for the year, so it will be good to get back into the grind of footy and against the defending premiers, it will be a big challenge.”

The Knights forward, who has been praised for his intensity at training, maintains with competition for spots so tight this year, players have ramped it up a gear.

“That’s been the best bit about training so far is challenging each other on the field and to go hard and compete for the ball,” King commented.

“This year, we’ve got a lot more depth than we’ve had in the last couple of years.

“It’s going to challenge each other to play good footy week in and week out and be consistent, or you’re going to find yourself back in Reserve Grade.

“There’s a lot of depth through the middle, in the halves and in the backs, with many young guys coming through as well as experience.”

And King has taken advantage of the added experience and knowledge, thanks to a list of new recruits coming to the Club for the 2018 season.

“I really don’t think you could look past Chris Heighington and Jacob Lillyman and if you’ve got questions about anything,” maintained King.

“Lillyman has 250-plus games and Heino with 300-plus games, they’ve seen and done it all, so if there’s any questions at all, we go and ask them.

“A lot of the young boys, the Saifitis and Mitch Barnett have been playing great for a couple of years now and are starting to learn things for themselves.

“They understand the game a bit more and we can bounce off each other and help each other along the way.”

The young prop revealed he’s happy with where his fitness and physicality are at the moment, hoping to put into practice what he’s learnt at next week’s trial match against the Storm.

“I’m feeling really strong in the gym and when we’re doing our running, I’m feeling comfortable running,” King explained.

“There’s always room for improvement, you’re never going to be perfect, but at the moment I think I’m travelling quite well and I’m happy with where I’m at.

“For a lot of us young guys, this is our chance to show (Nathan) Browny that we’re up to the challenge and try to make it into that starting 17 for Round 1.

“With all the new faces this year, it’s going to be tough but we’re keen and ready to go.”