Local product Chris Randall is on the verge of realising a career goal that only five months ago appeared to be a pipedream.
Randall has officially been given the green light by the NRL to make his top grade debut against Penrith on Sunday week despite only being on a development contract with the club.
The 24-year-old Lakes United junior is not a member of the Knights' top 30 squad and would normally have had to wait until June 30 before being eligible to play in the top grade.
But it's understood he has been given an exemption because of the season-ending injury to regular hooker Jayden Brailey and the lack of a recognised dummy half replacement at the club.
Knights coach Adam O'Brien confirmed Randall's availability on Wednesday, declaring: "He's sweet."
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It now appears highly likely he will be in the 17-man squad to take on the Panthers at Campbelltown Stadium with the coach to make a call on whether he or more experienced utility Connor Watson will start the game in the No.9 jumper.
Remarkably, it was only back in late December that Randall believed his dream of playing in the NRL was over after an eight week pre-season training stint with the Knights fulltime squad appeared to have come to an end.
"I was only on a train-and-trial deal at the time and I actually thought I was going back to part-time training after Christmas," he said. "So it's all been a pretty big turnaround for me.
"It would be great to get an opportunity and I've just been trying to put my best foot forward at training.
"I've just been trying to nail each day as it comes and give myself the best chance when Adsy [O'Brien] picks his team. I've been trying my hardest and I guess we'll see what happens."
Randall said he has been fully focused on building combinations with his halves and fullback during regular opposed sessions at training.
"We've been doing a lot of opposed stuff and I've been flipping between both teams and swapping with Connor at hooker to build some combinations," he said.
"It's been really good. I've been able to do some stuff with Pearcey [Mitchell Pearce], Killer [Kurt Mann], Kalyn [Ponga] and Tex [Hoy] which has really helped me."
A critical factor in Randall's favour as far as landing a spot in the squad is Watson's versatility and his impact in that utility role.
He was one of the Knights' best in the opening two rounds, terrorising the defence around the ruck when O'Brien threw him into the game off the bench after 20 or 30 minutes and will be even more dangerous with the move to one referee.
"That's probably a positive for me because Connor is so dynamic playing that sort of role as well and if Adsy doesn't want him playing 80 minutes at hooker, he may need someone else on the bench to cover," Randall said.
"Hopefully, that will be the case but we'll have to see."
Randall admits he is excited about the possibilities.
"I'd like to think I've worked pretty hard for it and it's a big thing for me because I've grown up supporting the Knights my whole life," he said. "So if I was to get a crack at playing first grade, it would be a dream come true."
Knights recruitment boss Alex McKinnon said the decision to sign Randall to a development contract this year illustrates the pathway that is open to local players.
"Chris has done it the hard way. He has had to earn it," McKinnon told the club's website. "He's a local product who has trusted that there is a development pathway for him at this club."
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