JOSH King knows better than most what an unforgiving environment the NRL can be.
In his top-grade debut for Newcastle, the 21-year-old Singleton Greyhounds junior found himself on the receiving end of a 53-0 hammering from Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium, as Broncos hardheads like Sam Thaiday, Corey Parker, Josh McGuire and Adam Blair handed out a lesson.
Now King, after three seasons and 40 first-grade games, hopes the boot is finally on the other foot.
After the signing of David Klemmer Tim Glasby and James Gavet, who have joined forces with Herman Ese’ese, the Saifiti twins, King and Pasami Saulo, Newcastle have the makings of a formidable engine-room rotation.
King will do whatever it takes to be a part of it.
“It’s been unbelievable, this pre-season,” King told the Newcastle Herald.
“As far as Timmy Glasby, Jimmy Gavet and Klem, they’ve been all really good in helping us young fellas.
“I’ve been asking a lot of questions, and it’s been good to be able to latch onto those guys and learn from them.”
Far from being worried that the influx of new front-rowers would impact on his own selection chances, King said he was “excited” about the challenge.
“I’m still only 23, so overall I want to learn and be able to take my game to another level,” he said.
“If that means playing a bit of reserve grade, it’s making everyone train harder and hopefully that can only make my career better and longer in the long run.”
In particular, King is looking to emulate former Melbourne prop Glasby.
“I’m never going to be the biggest front-rower, but Timmy is about the same size as me and he’s played Origin and won a grand final, so I’ve been watching his techniques and trying to replicate it in my game,” he said.
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