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Knights recruit Gehamat Shibasaki.

Jumping from one competitive school of centres at the Broncos to another one at the Knights has brought Gehamat Shibasaki's competitive juices to the boil.

The 21-year-old knows people think he was shuffled out of Brisbane to make way for Storm halfback Brodie Croft.

But he'd like to make it clear that there's more to the story than that.

"It wasn't so much to do with Crofty, and more about an opportunity for me to play more NRL. The Knights came with that opportunity and I took that with both hands," Shibasaki told

"When you look at the depth at the Broncos with Jack Bird, Katoni Staggs, Darius Boyd now that he's not playing fullback, Alex Glenn, Izaia Perese, Tesi Niu and those sorts of younger guys and you can see how healthy the competition is.

"I would have loved to stay and compete but for someone my age (he turns 22 in February) I feel like I'm ready to play consistent first grade. That was the main reason I came here."

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It will be no less competitive at the Knights with Tautau Moga, Enari Tuala, Hymel Hunt, Bradman Best and Shibasaki all vying for the two centre spots.

But he has spoken at length with coach Adam O'Brien on his determination to make the decision a little easier.

"I want to prove to Adam that I can be not only a good defender but also good in attack," he said.

Also helping him in that direction is former Broncos teammate in Moga. The pair never played NRL together – Moga moving to the Knights at the end of 2017 when Shibasaki didn't make his debut until 2018.

"But I knew Tau pretty well back in Brissie. When he started there I was coming through the 20s and he really helped me in my development," he said.

"And I know it sounds like it's just as competitive here as I left at the Broncos but football is all about competing. These guys are bringing out the best in me and making me a better player.

"Adam's also approaching me with stuff to really develop my game a bit more – have a bit of an offload and maybe some kicking to sharpen my attack."

Shibasaki would also like to knock another rumour on the head – that he was being brought to Newcastle to play in the second row.

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"Definitely no back row for me, no way. When I read that I was shocked," he said.

"I'll take anywhere in the backline (he played wing among his 13 games for Broncos over two seasons) as it's good to know every position just in case. But I've mainly been training in the right centre position."

Shibasaki also played on the Broncos left edge at centre and prides himself on being able to cover both flanks.  

"I don't really have a preference. It's good to play both sides and if I want to play first grade I think that's a good thing. I can play both and wherever Adam thinks I'm suited. I've mainly been on the right so far.

"I'm just looking to get a chance at trials to really put my feet down and show Adam what I can do and that I'm ready to put my body on the line for the team. He's a real defensive-leaning sort of coach and I really pride myself on 'D'. I don't want to let him down."

When the Knights announced Shibasaki's signature, O'Brien had no hesitation in explaining why he wants the Townsville-born back. 

"He has NRL experience and is a strong defender. We need to be a resilient, strong defensive club. He’s a big and powerful centre," O’Brien said.

"He adds the needed depth to our outside backs with Shaun Kenny-Dowall and Jesse Ramien leaving."

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