NATHAN Ross is a huge fan of Kalyn Ponga but won’t be handing Newcastle’s No.1 jersey to the new recruit on a silver platter.
“I’ll be doing my best to be in the starting team, somewhere,” Ross said.
“Kalyn is a great young talent, but I’ll be pushing him. He’ll have to earn the No.1 jumper, the same as everyone in the team.
“He’s an extremely talented player. I’ve seen that playing against him, and I’m looking forward to playing with him.
“But it would be unfair to the club, and unfair to him, if people didn’t compete for spots. That’s what brings out the best in everybody.”
Ross started 2017 on the wing but played the last eight games of the year at fullback, a move he relished.
Newcastle’s top tryscorer in each of the past two seasons, he is happy to fit in wherever coach Nathan Brown thinks is best for the team, and is looking forward to playing in a backline bolstered by the off-season acquisition of Ponga (North Queensland), Tautau Moga (Brisbane) and Connor Watson (Roosters).
“I think I’ve shown Browny and the coaching staff that I can do a job wherever they want to put me,” he said.
“I guess it’s whatever the best balance for the team is. Wing, centre or fullback – hopefully I’m in one of those positions.
“But I’ve got to have another big pre-season and prove I deserve to be there, because there’s going to be a lot of good, healthy competition for spots.”
Ross said he was looking forward to an injury-free season after recently undergoing three separate surgeries in the space of two weeks, on his elbow, finger and eye.
“I feel like a million bucks, now that they’re all done,” he said. “I’m so glad they’re all done and the club helped me get back to 100 per cent, functioning properly again.”