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Jacob Saifiti crosses the line against the Cowboys.

A fresh approach, a fitter body, and a new coach should add up to a happier season for Knights prop Jacob Saifiti.

The 23-year-old prop's fourth NRL season with the Knights was probably the worst.

He only played seven NRL games, and didn't play his first until round 16 due to the combination of a syndesmosis injury and a broken lower leg as the result of an altercation outside a Newcastle hotel.

Even when he made it back onto the field, coach Nathan Brown omitted him on game day for the next few rounds. He was back in round 20 and saw out the season.

Through all that turmoil he at least reached his 50th NRL game milestone and he rejoiced at twin brother Daniel's success in making his NSW Origin debut and winning a series.

Daniel made 21 appearances for the Knights last year – the kind of figure Jacob would dearly love for himself in 2020.

Helping in that quest is his commitment to a tough pre-season with incoming coach Adam O'Brien, and an injury-free run leading up to two scheduled trials: February 22 against the Dragons and February 29 facing the Roosters.

O'Brien brings new mentality to Newcastle

"I think I'm coming along at the right time," Saifiti said after another up-tempo O'Brien session on Thursday.

"I was a bit slow to start last year but I think I'm going pretty well this time."

So will he be in the starting side for the round one game against the Warriors on March 14?

"That's more a question for Adzy [O'Brien]. But I'm putting my hand up and I think I'm going pretty good. I'm training hard to put myself in the best position for round one.

"Trials will be important. Like I said, I'm training alright, but training and trials are two different things," Saifiti said.

"I'm off contract so it's make or break for me. It's the fittest I've ever been as it's my first full pre-season since my first back in 2014-15."

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