Tom Hughes hasn’t made his NRL debut yet, but this season it’s at the top of his list.
“Definitely, that’s what everyone wants to do,” Hughes told Knights TV.
“Hopefully Browny (Nathan Brown) can give me a shot on the wing and if I keep playing well in the Reserve Grade team, I’ll be able to push for a spot there.”
The 22-year-old, who impressed in Reserve Grade last year scoring the most tries in the competition with 18, has been thankful for his first time training with the NRL squad in pre-season.
He admits it has made a significant difference to his game.
“Being around better footy every day definitely helps your skills,” commented Hughes.
“It gets your combinations better with all your teammates and at the end of the day, it helps you win games.
“I have been training a fair bit with Brent Naden, we’ve been getting our centre, wing combination up to scratch.
“The pre-season has been solid but getting to the end of it now, footy is just around the corner and everyone is pretty excited.”
While the athletic back is yet to make his first appearance in the top grade, he was able to get a bit of practice in after being selected for the Club’s trial match against the Melbourne Storm last week.
“Melbourne is probably one of the benchmark teams and to get a game against them was definitely a good experience,” added Hughes.
“It sets a standard for where we want to be going forward.
“I’m not 100 per cent sure what I’m going to be doing as far as the Maitland trial goes but if I can get a chance to play first grade out there, I will take it with both hands.
“It’s probably the last chance we’ll get before the season so hopefully it influences Browny’s decision on whether he picks me for Round 1.”
And with competition for spots as tight as it’s ever been, the Club’s Reserve Grade side is also expected to be a strong outfit this year.
“The Reserve Grade team is probably going to go a long way in the comp,” Hughes said.
“We’ll have a few players each week dropping back from the NRL team and we’ve got an international player so it’s all good things.
“We’ve got a few players in that team who have played together for a year now, so it will help our combinations and if we keep playing like we did last year, we’ll go a long way again.”