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The Knights in pre-season training.

As a player who was in action on grand final day, winning the State Championship for Canterbury against Redcliffe, former Bulldog Zac Woolford was entitled to a longer break than his new Knights clubmates who did not participate in the post-season.

But the 22-year-old rake, who will be targeting an NRL spot in the absence of injured No.9 Slade Griffin next year, says coming back later than his new teammates was never an option.

"I've been here [training] for two and a half weeks now – I decided I'd get in early and not have the longer break I could have had," Woolford told on Tuesday.

"I wanted to rip straight in. It's been really good getting to know all the boys here, forming a few combinations with the halves and obviously getting those Ks in the legs.

"Coming to a new club you obviously want to impress and try and fit in as soon as you can so I thought it would benefit me and really happy with the decision I made.

"Especially being my first year here, you don't want to leave any stone unturned, you want to rip in and try and impress so that's the mindset."

Knights recruit Zac Woolford.
Knights recruit Zac Woolford. ©

Woolford laughed that he "might have just scraped in" five and a bit weeks of his entitled six-week break.

"It never crossed my mind to not come back when I did, I was eager to get up here and get settled in and it's really worked out."

The son of long-serving Raiders hooker Simon Woolford, Zac is hoping the move to the Hunter accelerates his own hopes of an NRL debut while he was also delighted to be part of what he believes is a young team on the up.

"At the Bulldogs it was a bit of a stalemate. I enjoyed my time there but I thought this was going to be the best place for me," he said.

"I want to play first grade, the goal is to debut. There were a lot of people up here I can learn from. Browny (coach Nathan Brown) was a hooker, Danny [Levi] played for his country. This was just the right move for me I feel."

Given Griffin won't play until mid-late season at best, there is a chance Woolford could job-share the hooking role with Kiwi Test rake Levi early on.

He said he hadn't thought that far ahead though.

"There's real competition for spots at the moment," he said.

"We're pushing each other every day, we're having passing competitions and working on little things. I'm just enjoying that at the moment. It's only a couple of weeks in and there's a lot of footy to come before round one."

Zac's father Simon Woolford in action for Canberra in 2006.
Zac's father Simon Woolford in action for Canberra in 2006. ©NRL Photos

Woolford's conversations with Brown had not featured any sort of promises or guarantees beyond the fact that there were opportunities at the club for players who were prepared to come up and work hard.

"I didn't want any promises, that was all I needed to hear, that there was opportunity and enough to make me want to make the trip up," he added.

"I turned 22 this year, for a dummy half that's plenty of footy in front of me, it's about brushing up on a few things and getting ready to play first grade."

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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