Towering forward Daniel Saifiti admits he’s a bit rusty on the contact side of things, after spending five months recovering from shoulder surgery.
The 21-year-old is out of the no-contact jersey, along with fellow teammates Tautau Moga and Mitch Barnett, and has resumed full contact as he aims to get himself match fit for the 2018 season.
“I haven’t done full contact with the boys for over six months now so in defence there’s a bit of rust there and my attack could be better, but I’m pretty happy with where I’m at,” Saifiti explained.
“Last week, I met with the surgeon and everything is on track at the moment.
“I should be right for the Parramatta Eels trial before the first round, so everything is going along really well.”
Getting back to training with the full squad is a welcome change for the young forward.
“Mitch (Barnett), myself and Tautau (Moga), we were doing laps around the field while the boys trained, so to be amongst the boys and the banter on the field, is pretty good,” Saifiti smiled.
“I’m just getting used to the game fitness again because I can run as many laps as I want but at the end of the day, tackling and getting off the deck, you need to prepare for that.”
And there’s no going easy on the twin Saifiti from his teammates either.
“The guys weren’t going easy on me, I told them not,” he said.
“I wasn’t going to go in there half-hearted because that’s the way you get injured the most.
“I made sure I was 100 per cent ready before I went back to full contact.”
While only one Saifiti brother looks set to be travelling down to Melbourne for the Knights first trial against the Storm, Daniel is gearing up for their Maitland clash against the Parramatta Eels later this month.
“I’ll go in to the trial and give it my best effort, prove that my shoulder is ok,” Saifiti explained.
“Using the Parramatta trial to get into the 17 in Round 1 and making my way into the starting spot whenever I can.
“These trials are probably when Browny (Nathan Brown) is going to know whose ready and who’s not for Round 1.”
Last year the experience in the forward pack was limited, as the Saifiti brothers took a prominent role in helping to steer the ship, but with a host of new recruits on deck, the Knights looks to be an opposing force in the middle.
“Jacob and myself were probably two of the more experienced forwards last year but this year we’ve had more leaders come in like Jacob Lillyman, Herman (Ese’ese) and Heino (Chris Heighington) from good clubs and good systems,” added Saifiti.
“It’s only going to help guys like Jacob and I, Luke Yates, Josh King and Mitch Barnett.
“This year there is no easy runs, no one has cemented a spot in Round 1 yet.
“These past few years have been tough for us, but to know all of the players we have been getting in the forwards and in the backs, the fans are excited and as a player I’m even more excited.”