Rising star Jesse Ramien says the prospect of playing outside Mitchell Pearce and Kalyn Ponga will give him an opportunity to take his game to another level at the Knights next season and put himself in the Origin frame down the track.
One of the club’s major recruits, Ramien won’t be on deck on Monday when most of his new Knights teammates are slogging it out at the start of pre-season training.
He still has two more weeks off courtesy of the Sharks run to the preliminary final, but he says he can’t wait to start a new chapter in his career at his new club.
“I’ve never had one bit of regret with the decision I’ve made,” he said.
“Making the decision to sign with Newcastle before last season started was probably the best decision I could have done.
“I just wanted to focus on my footy this year and it freed my head up so I wasn’t worried about anything else.”
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As a result, he had a debut season to remember and is now widely regarded as one of the most promising centres in the game.
Not even the suggestion that signing early before he had established himself has cost him financially fazes the 21-year-old.
“A lot of people tell me I’ve cost myself money but I sort of looked at it that I’m a young guy that has a family now and I’m putting them first,”he said.
“I didn’t want to take a risk and I’m pretty blessed and grateful to be in the position that I’m in. To be earning some money doing what I love, at the end of the day, I’m just grateful and I couldn’t be happier with the decision.”
Asked about his Origin goal and what the likes of Pearce and Ponga can do for his game, Ramien says he couldn’t be more excited about the prospect.
“Whether it is next season or in five years time or whenever, now that I’m playing at this level, for sure, Origin is a goal I’d love to accomplish,” he says.
“And playing outside those guys after what they brought to the table for the Knights last season, I know I can improve and keep improving.
“What Browny and the staff have done with the team, I’m just really excited I’m going to be a part of it.”
Away from footy, things couldn’t be any better either.
A big part of his decision to sign with the Knights was the chance to move back fulltime to the Central Coast to be closer to his little daughter LaSharn.
“I’m living at Norah Head with my partner and my little one and her mum are only five minutes away from me now so it makes a world of difference,” he said.
“She is loving it. It’s so much better now.”
LaSharn, who turns five next month, has a “mad crush” on Sharks star Valentine Holmes.
“But she is already talking about the Knights. Already loves them,” he said.
“She loves going to games and coming into the sheds afterwards. I'm sure she will get real friendly with everyone real quick.”