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Knights back-rower Aidan Guerra.

It's not as if Aidan Guerra needed any more brushes with injury after missing half of the 2019 season with a fractured ankle.

But then he and a motorbike parted company due to a pothole in a Bali road, when he was on post-season holidays with friends.

"I'm all good. It was just unlucky," the Newcastle back-rower told of the September accident, which left him with deep cuts and scrapes to his forehead, cheek, nose and chin after he went over the handlebars.

"The knock to the head means I don't remember a lot of it actually. But my mate said we were just cruising when my front tyre dug into something in the road and I went over the hangers.

"It was pretty innocuous although the photos of my face look worse than I was."

He says his teammates "and the phone still recognises me" proving he still looks the same.

Now the 31-year-old former Origin and Test forward would like a slightly different 2020 – a smooth injury-free run of matches to prove himself to the new coach Adam O'Brien and his staff.

"I actually knew Adam very early on when I was playing Under-20s in Melbourne. He was our assistant coach there," Guerra said.

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"Since then we've both gone our separate ways and he's obviously grown into someone who's well regarded. I spoke to some of the players at the Roosters and obviously Tim Glasby worked with him at Storm.

"So he's come in with a great background and already got our respect as players. He's asserting his coaching style on the group and it's going really well."

The premiership-winner from the Roosters (2013) is into his third season at the Knights and his third head coach after Nathan Brown and then a month with Kristian Woolf.

Rumours circulated late last year that as Guerra, who is off-contract in 2020, had been told by the Knights he was free to look elsewhere.

"There was nothing official. There was a bit going on with the club towards the end of the season and I told them I wanted to stay," Guerra said.

"I wanted the challenge of proving myself to a new coach and new staff.

"Since then it's been very clear in my mind that I want to stay here at the Knights and that I still think I've got what it takes. I'm still certainly enjoying my footy."

Aidan Guerra at pre-season training.
Aidan Guerra at pre-season training. ©

Sitting on 190 NRL games, Guerra should pass the 200 milestone next season and also crank out his 50th career try – he's currently on 47.

"I'm just keen on playing as many games as I can in 2020. I guess I've learned in recent times that some things are out of your control," he said.

"You've just got to make the most of the opportunities you get. But I'm definitely a Knight."

As for Newcastle's fortunes since he arrived from the Roosters for the 2018 season, it was an 11th place on the NRL ladder then and 11th again in 2019 with 10 wins and 14 losses.

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"Both years previous to this one we've ended the year thinking that we've under-achieved," Guerra said.

"But we've all come in here with excitement and a new attitude. I know lots of clubs say that at this time of the year, but we've had a bit of a shake-up here so we're looking forward very much to what's ahead."

Experienced heads like Jamie Buhrer, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, James Gavet and Slade Griffin have moved on or retired.

As for the new personnel, Cronulla's Jayden Brailey has impressed.

"We're only three-and-a-half weeks into training but you can already see what he's about," Guerra said.

"He has a great work ethic and you can see his intestinal fortitude as it's tough times in the first month of a pre-season.

"As we get further and further into the season I'll learn more about him as a football player. But he's highly thought of by everyone you talk to."

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