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Fit and fast! Knights pre-season standouts revealed

Connor Watson has claimed the mantle as fittest player to start the pre-season block at the nib Newcastle Knights.

Watson finished with the fastest time as part of the pre-season time trial testing.

He also won the ‘Yo Yo’ – a shuttle run similar to the beep test – with a very high number.

Train and trial player Chris Randall is another whose initial fitness has been of a competent level.

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According to Head of Physical Performance, Balin Cupples, while initial testing is positive, there’s still plenty of room for growth.

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“It shows the boys have done some work over the off-season, however even our top markers such as Connor and Randall have plenty of improvement to grow to reach desired benchmarks,” Cupples said.

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“Physical levels and the game demands themselves, increase every year hence benchmarks must continue rise.”

Aside from raw numbers, much of what the performance staff are looking for is a high output and intent.

When it comes to work ethic, young gun Bradman Best has impressed.

The teenage centre has stepped up in some of the more physically taxing sessions.

Fellow youngster Starford To’a has also been another who has shown his commitment throughout training.

When it comes to the speed work, Best has also shown promising results.

“All the players are not even close to reaching optimal levels across all areas of performance but it’s early and we have plenty to get through over the next four months,” Cupples said.

Several other players have made significant gains since the conclusion of the 2019 season.

Teenage playmaker Phoenix Crossland has added considerable muscle mass to his frame as his body adapts to the physical toll of tackling fully developed men rather than players his own age in the Jersey Flegg competition.