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Ese'ese primed for Eels challenge

Interview: Herman Ese'ese on Eels trial match

nib Newcastle Knights forward Herman Ese’ese admits the squad is excited for their second pre-season hit out against the Parramatta Eels at Maitland on Saturday.

The Knights are set to field an almost full-strength side, minus Mitch Barnett, who has been held back to ensure his full recovery from a shoulder injury.

Ese’ese has been named in the number 13 jersey in place of Barnett, after playing prop in the trial win against the Melbourne Storm a fortnight ago.

“It will definitely be a good test for us on Saturday night and it should be exciting to see how we go,”  Ese’ese told Knights TV on Wednesday.

“I'm playing lock this time... it’s kind of the same as prop, you stay in the middle corridor and do that same job.

“There's more ball playing and longer minutes, so I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

The 23-year-old suggested the selected 17 against the Eels could be a similar team to what will be seen in Round 1, but said players will still need to work hard to secure their spots.

“There could be some late inclusions coming to Round 1, but I think whoever performs well in the trial this week will definitely cement their spots.

“Some players do have their spots locked in and for other players nothing is guaranteed.

“There’s still players pushing for other spots so we’ve just got to go out there and perform well.”

And to get the win against Parramatta, the forward maintains they’ll need to focus on their own game.

“We shouldn’t worry about Parramatta too much, just be confident and trust the process,” smiled Ese’ese.

“Hayne playing for them and Mitchell Pearce playing for us, there’s a lot of hype around those two players especially, I’m really looking forward to Saturday and hopefully we get the job done.”

Tickets to the trial at Maitland’s no. 1 Sportsground have sold out but for those that missed out, there will be a live stream of the NRL match at