Monster teenage English recruit Dominic Young won't feature in Newcastle's 17-man squad for the season-opener against the Bulldogs in less than a fortnight.
But he has certainly put some heat on the Knights' established outside backs by making a big statement in two trial appearances for his new club.
After impressing first up in a lower grade hit-out against Cessnock more than a week ago, big Dom stepped up in far stronger company on Saturday and was among the real positives from a largely mediocre 30-10 trial loss to Melbourne Storm in Albury.
Without seven regular starters, the Knights were clunky in attack and fumbled their way to an 18-0 halftime deficit and actually performed better in the second half with their second string side playing the final 40.
Young was among the players pitched into the contest for the second half and he didn't disappoint, coming up with a couple of great off-loads and some crunching defence before finishing with a try right on fulltime.
Coach Adam O'Brien admitted the team performance overall had left the squad with plenty to work on leading into the Bulldogs round one clash.
"I suppose the most disappointing aspect of it was we didn't give ourselves any chance of applying any real pressure to the opposition," O'Brien said.
"It's one thing to go down there a little bit underdone in terms of the blokes we had out but we did ourselves no favours whatsoever. We turned over way too much ball and the upshot was Melbourne felt zero pressure from us for a long period of that game.
"That's the learning for us. We can't just go out with the expectation teams are going to fall down. We have to make sure we are loving the tough parts of the game.
"But in saying that, it was a trial so I'm not going to be over-critical. The lack of focus and concentration around the poor handling and poor decision-making - when to kick, when not to kick it - it looked like just a hit-out for a few of our guys which I suppose it was.
"The important thing is we take our lessons from it. We need to look for some polish and obviously be more switched on for round one and that's what we'll be working on at training in the next few weeks."
O'Brien admitted he is surprised how far advanced Young is following his first NRL pre-season.
"Dom's had a pretty good couple of weeks, it's fair to say and Alex [McKinnon] has found us a good one there," O'Brien said.
"I'd say he is more advanced than we probably thought. He looks like he is physically up to it and I liked that he was up in their face in defence."
Asked about where he stands as far as an NRL debut is concerned, O'Brien said: "I'd like to see him continue that form into a few 80 minute games. He hasn't played 80 minutes yet.
"I'm really happy with him but I want him to keep progressing. I'm not going to tell him to put the slippers and the robe on now. I want him to keep going harder and improving. We've got him for three years."
O'Brien also singled out the form of Knights debutant Tyson Frizell and centre Bradman Best as other pluses along with hooker Jayden Brailey, who got through his first 40 minute stint since his knee reconstruction without a hitch.
"There was some positive stuff there for some individuals but as far as the team performance is concerned, like I said, we've obviously got some work to do still," he said.
"You just have to get your lessons out of trials - the result really is irrelevant.
"I'm not too concerned. At the end of the day, you can't disguise it's a trial."
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