Knights lift in fresh space FRESH: Recovering Newcastle Knights player Dylan Phythian in the club’s new-look gym at Wests Mayfield on Tuesday. He’s working towards a return in 2018 after missing last season with an ACL injury. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

TweetFacebookThey come in the shape of a player leaderboard, non-negotiable rulesand inspirational quotes from the likes of ice hockey great Wayne Gretzky placed around the room for all to see during pre-season training.

“It’s something we’ve done between us [Knights staff] and it’s important with any program from year to year, especially when you’ve got a bunch of boys that have been around for a long time,” Knights high performance manager Tony Ayoub said.

“They can get a bit stale in the same environment so we just try to change it up.

“We just thought some of those quotes were pretty pertinent to what we want to achieve …the board gives usbenchmarks and the competitiveness that comes out can drive extra efforts.

“All the boys made comments when they first walked in [the gym] a few weeks back so hopefully it helps to lift our standards.”

Ayoub, now in his second campaign with the Knights,said he has been particularly impressed with utility forward Luke Yates.

“They’ve all lifted a notch compared to lastyear but Luke Yates continues to bea standout for me,” Ayoub said.

“He’s not the biggest of fellows but geez he has a dig.”

The team’s rehabilitation group, including Dylan Phythian,Mitch Barnett, Daniel Saifiti and Tautau Moga,were in full swing on Tuesday.

“They’re allcoming along well and probably ahead of schedule,” Ayoub said.

Meanwhile, this week the Knightsreached 10,000 members for 2018.