PROJECT player Chris Adams will know more about his opponents than most of his Knights teammates in their pre-season trial against the Newcastle Rugby League representative squad at Tomaree Oval on Saturday night.
The 23-year-old Cessnock hooker represented Newcastle and was selected for NSW Country last season, and he played with and against many of the players he will line up against.
Adams captured the attention of Knights talents scouts and former coach Brian Smith last year, and current coach Rick Stone pursued him in the off-season.
Stone invited Adams to train with the Knights' Central Coast-based NSW Cup feeder club, the Centurions, and he has since progressed to the Knights' full-time squad.
Some Knights insiders already rate the Bellingen junior as the club's third-choice dummy-half option behind Isaac De Gois and George Ndaira.
Adams will get his chance to extend his training form to the playing arena when he comes off the bench in the first two quarters with the Knights' fringe first-graders on Saturday, then starts at dummy half with the Centurions for the third and fourth periods.
"I can't wait to play against them. I enjoy playing against blokes I've played with so it should be good because they're all pretty good blokes," said Adams, who has not played since breaking his arm at NSW Country training last June.
A part-time labourer who fits work around training with the Knights and Centurions, Adams played for Wyong in 2005, 2007 and 2008, and squeezed in a season with North Sydney's Jersey Flegg (under-20s) side in 2006.
Still living at Toukley, he switched from Wyong to Cessnock last year and is committed to the Goannas for this season, but coach Todd Edwards has effectively granted him indefinite leave from club duties to chase his dreams to play in the NRL.
"I signed for Cessnock again for this year then around the end of November Rick Stone rang me up and said there was an opportunity for me if I wanted to come and have a run for the Centurions in the NSW Cup," Adams said.
"So I came down and did that, we had our break for Christmas, then not long after we came back we had a training session in Newcastle and Rick rang me that afternoon and asked if I wanted to come to their full-time session on the Friday morning.
"I thought that was pretty good and he said I went pretty well, and he asked me if I wanted to start coming three times a week with the full-time squad on the Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and I've been doing that for the last month.
"I'm only training for the Knights and the Centurions at the moment. Todd Edwards told me not to bother coming to training, just to stay where I am until it all sorts itself out."
Apart from his commitments on Saturday, Stone said Adams would play for the Centurions in a NSW Cup trial against The Entrance at St John Oval on February 20 then could come off the bench for the Knights against Melbourne the same night.
"The very first full-time session he came to was a full-contact session and he certainly made a few blokes sit up and take notice," Stone said.
"He's got a little bit of dummy-half play to learn, that's for sure, because he hasn't played dummy half for very long in his career probably only a year to 18 months.
"But he's got a left-foot kick, good motor, good shape.
"I think everyone's been impressed with him. He's a quiet sort of a bloke but he's got enough self-confidence there . . . and he definitely makes a few sit up and take notice when it comes time for contact."