Kiwi confidence a timely boost for Levi
Newcastle Knights hooker Danny Levi still can't believe he spent the entire representative round with Stephen Kearney's Kiwis squad, and is hoping he can turn it into a positive for the struggling Knights this weekend.
Levi has been named to start at hooker for the sixth time in his young career to play the Sharks on Sunday afternoon in hope of reversing the Knights' current three-game losing streak.
The 20-year-old said the fresh traits of professionalism he garnered alongside the likes of veterans Jesse Bromwich, Shaun Johnson and Adam Blair will hold him in good stead for the remainder of his first full season in the NRL.
"I thought I was a long way off from any selection but then I received a call from Mooks (Kearney) when I was on my way down to Sydney on the bus the day before we played the Roosters (in Round 9) and I was pretty keen from there," Levi told NRL.com
"I told Jeremy Smith first because he's a fellow Kiwi and he was happy as for me and then the rest of the boys found out and it was pretty cool how the boys all responded.
"[Kearney] said he was bringing me in for the experience and to look towards the future. I definitely learnt how professional they all were. Training was another step up in intensity so I took plenty of professionalism from it," Levi added.
"Hopefully I have a foot in the door now and I can keep improving. I've learnt where I need to be now and if I ever get called upon I'll be ready for it."
Levi has been one of the shining lights for the Knights this season but said his worst performance of the year came in their last start 38-0 loss to the Roosters where he missed five tackles.
The Randwick Kingfishers junior said his Kiwis selection did play on his mind slightly against the Tricolours but was adamant he wasn't one to dwell on previous lows.
It's a trait Levi has developed in his short 13-game career considering he's won just one game in the NRL since his debut, which coincidentally came against the Sharks in Round 15 last year.
"I was pretty excited by the Kiwis call-up in the lead up to playing the Roosters and I should have concentrated on the game a bit more but I guess we all did it pretty tough out there," Levi said.
"We can't dwell on a loss though. We're all still trying to improve by putting the last game in the back of our minds.
"We know we have to really step up to hold our spots because we're all still young so all season we haven't thought about our losses too much.
"The Sharks are one of the best teams in the NRL at the moment and I guess all we can do is go out there, do our best and look after what we can control," he added.
"That's what we have been doing at training and if we can do that in games consistently then we might have a chance. There's patches in games where we're really good but then we might take the foot off the accelerator which makes it tough."