Mitchell Pearce may have been the talk of the town upon arrival in Newcastle on Monday but it was business as usual 24 hours later in the Knights’ new-look gym.
The weights remain set up in the same part of the club’s headquarters at Wests Mayfield but there’s been some fresh additions to the space.
They come in the shape of a player leaderboard, non-negotiable rules and inspirational quotes from the likes of ice hockey great Wayne Gretzky placed around the room for all to see during pre-season training.
“It’s something we’ve done between us [Knights staff] and it’s important with any program from year to year, especially when you’ve got a bunch of boys that have been around for a long time,” Knights high performance manager Tony Ayoub said.
“They can get a bit stale in the same environment so we just try to change it up.
“We just thought some of those quotes were pretty pertinent to what we want to achieve … the board gives us benchmarks and the competitiveness that comes out can drive extra efforts.
“All the boys made comments when they first walked in [the gym] a few weeks back so hopefully it helps to lift our standards.”
Ayoub, now in his second campaign with the Knights, said he has been particularly impressed with utility forward Luke Yates.
“They’ve all lifted a notch compared to last year but Luke Yates continues to be a standout for me,” Ayoub said.
“He’s not the biggest of fellows but geez he has a dig.”
The team’s rehabilitation group, including Dylan Phythian, Mitch Barnett, Daniel Saifiti and Tautau Moga, were in full swing on Tuesday.
“They’re all coming along well and probably ahead of schedule,” Ayoub said.
Meanwhile, this week the Knights reached 10,000 members for 2018.