Hymel Hunt has barely been sighted in the NRL arena in recent times, playing a singular top-flight game last year as the struggling Knights set their backline.

The 29-year-old Samoan international is a rugby league journeyman by every sense of the word, however the centre-turned-winger has found a home in Newcastle since arriving in 2019.

Hunt played 61 NRL games for the club between 2019 and 2021, however only extended that figure to 62 after a combination of injuries as well an in-form wing pairing restricting the former Storm, Titans and Rabbitohs back to the NSW Cup.

NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 15: Hymel Hunt of the Newcastle Knights celebrates with team mate Mitchell Pearce during round one NRL match between the Newcastle Knights and the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on March 15, 2019 in Newcastle, Australia. (Photo by Tony Feder/Getty Images)

While Newcastle struggled, their wingers didn't. Edrick Lee and Dominic Young crossed for a combined 28 tries in 36 games, including Lee's club record of five in a singular game.

Lee is now a Dolphin while Dom explores his Sydney suitors, leaving Hunt, Enari Tuala and new recruit Greg Marzhew to fight it out for the left wing spot.

"I had the worst run of injuries," Hunt said, speaking to the Newcastle Herald.

"I missed about 12 weeks after rupturing my PCL, and then my first game back I broke my cheekbone and was out for another six or seven.

"It was a bad break, I got three plates put in my face.

"That was really hard, mentally, because I think I played about 50 games straight for the club from when I got here in 2019, so I was just used to playing week-in, week-out."

Hunt was never considered a regular first-grader until joining the Knights, and hadn't played 20+ NRL games in a season until the move. While he eventually got his body fit again last season, his confidence had evaporated.

"I'd never had a lower-limb injury," he said.

"Only little ones, I might have rolled an ankle - but I definitely did struggle.

"I wasn't 100 per cent, nowhere near even 60 or 70 per cent. My knee was just taking a massive toll on me. I had to do extra rehab, extra physio every day just to get on the paddock.

"I just wanted to knock out a few games. Even if I was playing reggies, I just wanted to get out there and play."

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 08: Hymel Hunt of the Rabbitohs runs the ball during the round 14 NRL match between the Gold Coast Titans and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Cbus Super Stadium on June 8, 2018 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Named on the wing to face Cronulla in Newcastle's first trial this Friday, Hunt is ready to battle it out against his teammates to prove he's worth selection.

"My first focus was getting the best out of myself this pre-season. Every time I've done a whole pre-season, I've had a great year," he said.

"Now obviously these trials, putting my hand up and saying pick me to the coach and doing everything I can."