Two months after walking into coach Nathan Brown’s office asking for an immediate release from his contract, hooker Danny Levi has broken his silence on the reasons why he wanted out before declaring he is ready to play the game of his life against Parramatta tonight.
Languishing in NSW Cup earlier in the season and not getting a look in at NRL level because of the form of Slade Griffin, Levi admitted he believed at the time his future may have been somewhere else.
“Honestly, I was a bit pissed off about it [not being in the top grade],” Levi told the Newcastle Herald on the eve of the Knights’ clash against the Eels at McDonald Jones Stadium.
“I can’t help how I was feeling. I thought I had done enough to prove that I belonged there but those types of things happen. I know it is not just me.
“There was no use kicking stones but I felt like I deserved to be in the first grade squad which is why I thought about looking elsewhere.”
“At the time I was playing reggies but I thought I’d done enough to at least earn a bench spot.”
Levi, who is contracted to the Knights until the end of 2020, said he walked into Brown’s office to ask for the release without having another club to go to.
“There was no other club involved but I was confident at the time if I got the release, I could get picked up somewhere else,” he said.
“It was more so me just being really unhappy because I honestly believed my form warranted being picked and I didn’t know why I wasn’t.
“But after talking to Browny about it, he just reassured me I was one of the guys they wanted to keep for the future of the club. They didn’t want me to go and weren’t going to let me go.
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“Deep down, I’m happy here. I love Newcastle and I love playing for Newcastle. I’m glad I’m staying.
“But at the time, I just thought it was what I needed to do for my own future.”
A couple of weeks after his unsuccessful request, Levi was back in the NRL squad and has been coming off the bench ever since.
But following Griffin’s shattering injury blow against the Bulldogs a fortnight ago which could sideline him for 12 months, Levi will start against the Eels and says he will take the field with a big point to prove.
“I definitely feel like I have something to prove, 100 percent,” he said.
“I did it last year and I proved what I could do last year and I just don’t want people to forget that. Hopefully, I can keep on improving.”
Despite his obvious disappointment with what he called his “roller-coaster season” which includes losing his Kiwi Test jumper, Levi said he feels for Griffin.
“Obviously, it’s not the way I wanted to get the No 9 jersey back,” he said.
“It’s devastating about Slade. He was playing awesome. You can’t take anything away from him and the way he has gone, he really deserved his selection for the Kiwis.
“But there is an opportunity there now for me to start and it’s up to me to grasp it and that’s what I plan on doing, starting with Parramatta tomorrow night.
“I want to have a really big game against the Eels.
“Things haven’t worked out the way I obviously wanted them to this season but I’ve just got to run with it and every opportunity I get, I’ve got to make sure I do my best.”