New Zealand World Cup hooker Danny Levi has set himself a long-term goal of becoming an 80 minute player but admits he can’t afford to feel secure about his place in the Knights side heading into a new season.
On the back of breaking into the New Zealand Test squad for the first time during the World Cup at the expense of his long-serving Kiwi idol Issac Luke, Levi says he now feels confident of holding his own in any company.
But that doesn’t mean he is taking his position in the top squad at the Knights for granted.
“I don’t think anyone’s position is secure, especially with the quality we’ve got at the moment,”Levi said.
“It’s going to come down to who works harder for it to earn it. But I’ll be out to do whatever it takes.”
The Knights have signed Slade Griffin from Melbourne Storm as a hooker along with Redcliffe’s Christian Hazard and have Tom Starling graduating from the Holden Cup ranks.
Coach Nathan Brown also has the versatility of Jamie Buhrer, who kept Levi on the bench at times last season, to call on if need be.
Levi says he just wants to build on the confidence he picked up from the World Cup experience.
While it was a failed campaign in terms of the Kiwis’ failure to make the semifinals, Levi did nothing but enhance his future representative aspirations.
“It was awesome – a massive achievement for myself,”he said. It was just a great experience.
“I felt like I improved on a few things but mostly, I think I gained a lot of confidence from being able to play at that level with those guys.
“Hopefully, that will help me with my game with the Knights. For me, it’s all about just looking to build on top of that.”
Levi said what role he plays in 2018 will come down to what coach Brown believes is best for the team.
Asked about the possibility of having to come off the bench in an impact role, Levi said:
“I don’t mind it as long as I am getting big minutes in. Preferably, I want to start and the goal is to try and cement that role but I’ll do whatever Browny sees fit.”
Levi says his ultimate goal as his career develops is to become an 80 minute hooker.
“It’s pretty important and a lot of coaches and teams are starting to look for 80 minute hookers,”he said.
“Cam Smith does it easy and is quality and I think that’s what everyone’s looking for more and more now.
“It’s about game management and being able to conserve energy and play smarter by putting energy into the right situations in games and consistently making the right choices.”