Just five months ago, rookie Knights prop Tyrone Amey had Steve “Blocker” Roach in raptures following an off-load during his NRL debut that put Lachlan Fitzgibbon over for a try under the posts against Cronulla on Old Boys’ Day.
With several forwards missing through injury for the Sharks game, Amey’s unlikely cameo off the bench won the praise of coach Nathan Brown and the 22-year-old clinched a new part-time contract with the club.
But just like a number of fringe players at the Knights following a big off-season recruitment drive, Amey faces a battle to even make the club’s NSW Cup squad on a regular basis, prompting his decision to this week sign with Newcastle club Lakes United as a back-up position.
Amey finds himself under pressure because of the signing of Herman Ese’ese, Jacob Lillyman and Chris Heighington and the emergence of young forwards like Pasami Saulo and Brodie Jones.
But Knights’ Cup coach Simon Woolford admitted most of his part-time squad will be forced back to the local league this season and they have been encouraged to find clubs if they are not local juniors.
“Look it’s hard. These guys have done a full pre-season with me since early November,”Woolford said.
“But the reality is, there are 20 players here and most of them are probably not going to get a game at Cup level.
“All things being equal and with no-one injured in the club, we are going to need limited part-time players week in, week out.
“We’ll get some injuries obviously but it will depend on positions as to who we have to bring in.
“It’s a tough situation because they are all committed. It’s why they are an easy bunch to coach because they are all here for the right reasons.
“They are here for the opportunity and not for money so it’s tough if that opportunity is not there for them.
“But I’ll be telling them they need to be one of the best, if not the best player in their local team each week to give themselves every chance of a call-up when an opportunity presents itself.”
The Knights’ extended Cup squad will play a trial against North Sydney at Redfern Oval on Friday night, the final time for Woolford’s part-timers to impress before the team is culled for a hit-out against Wentworthville Magpies at Maitland .
The lower grade trial will feature many of the leftovers who don’t make Nathan Brown’s top 19 squad for the Parramatta Eels trial.
Lakes coach Todd Edwards confirmed Amey would play for the Seagulls this season when he was not on NSW Cup duty.
“He’s a quality player but I’m probably not expecting to see too much of him this season and for his sake, I hope he gets a good opportunity in there,”Edwards said.
“He’ll be welcome here though when available.”