Watson’s bid to lock in halves

Newcastle Knights NRL

nib Newcastle Knights new recruit Connor Watson admits nothing has been set in stone in the halves and the trials will determine who will take up the starting number six spot in Round 1.

The 21-year-old maintains Wednesday’s closed trial against the Melbourne Storm will be a chance for all players to stake their claim.

“A lot of people are wondering about what will happen in the halves, but the trials are here to work out those combinations and see what’s best for the team,” explained Watson.

“I’m looking forward to the trials because it will be a good chance for me to show that I’m ready to play in that position.”

It always helps that Watson has already clocked up some time on the field with former Sydney Roosters teammate Mitchell Pearce.

“We played together a fair bit during my time at the Roosters and I have learnt from him, watched him train and the way he plays for the last couple of years,” he added.

“I’ve really got to know Mitchell pretty well and it will be good to hopefully play alongside him again.

“In football there’s nothing that can be promised… there’s form, injuries and all sorts of things that happen so you can’t really take anything for granted and take each day as it comes.

“The biggest thing for me is to just keep working hard and show what I’ve got to offer.”

The talented youngster, who has recorded 38 NRL appearances, has found the Knights opposed sessions valuable to building his game as they edge closer to the start of the 2018 season.

Watson admits it’s starting to show the footy the new look Knights team are capable of.

“We’re building a really good squad here and there’ll only be good things to come in 2018,” commented Watson.

“The opposed sessions have almost been equivalent to a game; pretty physical and the game speed is fast, so it has been good.

“It’s almost getting game simulation from the drills and it’s really exciting the trials are coming up because that means the comp is about to start.

“It’s a good experience to go out there and get some match fitness because that’s probably the toughest thing… you can do all the running you want but nothing really prepares you when you start playing games.”

While the Storm look set to rest some of their big names, Watson has no doubts the defending premiers will be a challenging encounter.

“They have a lot of depth, a lot of great players and they’re the benchmark, so it will be a good test for us,” he explained.

“I feel like we’ve had a good pre-season, and this will show where we’re at.

“Fortunately, we have another month before the start of the season, so we can have a look at how we went and sit back and see where we need to improve.”

Watson is eager to get out for the Knights first hit out.

“I could play right now if you needed me to,” he laughed.

“It’s good footy is coming back around because you miss it and that’s why I play rugby league.”

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