Knights' King chipping away at two careers
Following just his third NRL game on Saturday afternoon it was revealed rookie prop Josh King only gets to train with the Knights' NRL squad once a week as he balances life as a footballer and an apprentice electrician.
King still lives with his parents in Singleton and works five days a week at nearby Bulga Coal – 75km northwest of the Knights' Mayfield base.
As he chips away at building two careers and seemingly continues to make strides in both, King earned massive praise for his performance against the Wests Tigers by coach Nathan Brown.
"My apprenticeship is very important to me because footy doesn't last forever. I really want something to fall back on and at the moment if I can get my apprenticeship out of the way then that'll go a long way in the future for me," King told NRL.com.
"I want to be playing rugby league full-time and be training full-time but rugby league doesn't last forever either.
"The Knights have been great. We organise a plan every week where I can train and still go to work which has been helpful. Work has been really helpful too. They really look after me," King added.
"It's just about finding a balance really. I wouldn't honestly be able to do it without my mum and dad either. The amount of work and effort they have put in to get me to where I am today is just incredible."
While the Knights have faced plenty of adversity this year, stories like King's go to show there's certainly more to life than just a game of rugby league.
It also proves exactly the youth Newcastle are bringing through the ranks at a heightened pace in 2016 as they look towards the future under Brown.
Producing 121 metres and 22 tackles in just over 30 minutes against the Tigers, King was made an example by Brown who pointed out that other young NRL players could look to the 21-year-old for inspiration both on and off the field.
"He doesn't even get to training and he still defends better than some other players already. He has a good attitude and he wants to do well for the club and himself. He's a great lesson for a lot of young players out there," Brown said.
"He trains once a week but can still go out there and put in a really, really good stint when we're on the back foot. He's not coming on for the Cowboys or the Broncos but he's playing for the side who's on the bottom of the table."
"He has an apprenticeship which he is doing which we're fully supportive of," Brown added. "We're happy with him doing what he is doing and hopefully he can play some more footy as the year goes on."
Daniel Saifiti was another player Brown reserved his praise for despite the Knights' eight-point loss. The young Fijian international made over 200 metres from the bench in easily his best career performance to date.
King was equally as buoyed by his teammate's performance and said the two young front-rowers find plenty of motivation from the each other's solid showings.
"Daniel Saifiti and I have been playing together for a couple of a years now and we know each other's games well and like playing off the back of one another," King said.
"It was no different against the Tigers, we just went out there and tried to do our best and take the team forward.
"It's surreal actually [playing in the NRL alongside him]. You have to pinch yourself every week and I don't think it's fully sunk in that I'm playing NRL," King added. "It's all come so quick and I'm very thankful to be given the chance to play first grade so soon."