Veteran prop Jacob Lillyman believes the nib Newcastle Knights have a solid forward pack going into Round 1 of the 2018 season.
And with 250 NRL games to his name as well as 14 State of Origin matches, he knows what he's talking about.
“We’ve got a lot of good young players which is always nice to mix it up... but it's also good to have a little bit of experience,” Lillyman told Knights TV.
“I’m really excited to see what we can do as a team and I think we’ve got a good mix of size and dynamic players.
“We will be able to cause some trouble for teams through the middle, as long as we do our job and we’re solid, it gives players like Pearcey (Mitchell Pearce) and Kalyn Ponga opportunities to do what they do.
“It’s about playing with physicality, getting some ruck speed and being very solid defensively… it’s quite a simple job but it’s very hard to implement.”
The 33-year-old says the squad has had a strong pre-season so far, with preparations right on track.
“It has been a long one, but we’ve managed to get a lot of work done and really looking forward to it,” Lillyman said.
“I can’t wait for the opportunity to put in place what we’ve practiced all pre-season going into Round 1.”
Lillyman admits the he was a little rusty in the first trial against the Melbourne Storm, with the red and blues winning on the siren.
But the first hit-out has been a good lead in to the second trial match against the Parramatta Eels in less than two weeks' time.
“Hopefully the rust is out of the system now,” said Lillyman.
“The next trial can’t come quick enough because we’ve got a lot of competition for spots which is really good for the team.
“Getting to play at Maitland in front of our home fans is something that we’re all looking forward to.”