2016 was a tough year for Liam Knight, who is hoping a change of scenery will be what it takes to re-start his Rugby League career.
In March last year, Knight was temporarily stood down by the Manly Sea Eagles for pleading guilty to speeding and high range drink driving. The club assisted him with his rehabilitation, before Trent Barrett – after receiving clearance from the NRL - rewarded his progression with an NRL debut, only for Knight to break his foot during the game.
The Sydney Roosters came knocking last September, and Knight decided it was the fresh start he needed to force his way back into first grade on a consistent basis.
“I had a lot of demons in the off season,” Knight tells NSWRL.com.au.
“It was probably the toughest year in my footballing life, not only the off field stuff but getting injured on my debut.
“I had a few off field issues, but there’s no hard feelings towards Manly.
"I loved the club, but I’m really keen to get on board with the Roosters, their coaching staff and their facilities.”
Knight was an imperative part of the victorious NSW under-20s Origin side in 2015; his talent is undeniable and work rate is impressive.
The goal for Knight now is to break into the Roosters star-studded NRL side, and is currently biding his time in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW, having played for the Wyong Roos for the past two weeks.
Debuting for Manly last year was a teaser for Knight; that small taste has made him hungrier for another opportunity.
“I was very, very grateful for the opportunity [to debut], I wish I made more of it instead of breaking my foot,” Knight says.
“I’ve been suspended for the first [part] of the season, but it’s been good, the boys have welcomed me on board straight away.
“I’m looking on to building a few wins and a few performances with the boys in NSW Cup [Intrust Super Premiership] and hopefully get some match fitness, getting a crack in grade which is where I want to be and cementing my spot.”
The Roosters is a fantastic club for any young forward to be at, as you don’t have to look far for role models and people to seek advice from.
Boyd Cordner, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Dylan Napa and Mitch Aubusson are all examples of established first graders that Knight is grateful to be training aside every day.
“You learn a lot around them, especially their composure and how they work under fatigue,” Knight says.
“Their talk and their stature in the game that they have, there’s a reason those guys are at the top of their sport because they train harder than anyone else.
“It’s obviously great to watch and I try and learn from that on the training paddock and off the field as well.”