NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 18: Mitchell Barnett of the Knights looks dejected after losing to the Rabbitohs during the round three NRL match between the Newcastle Knights and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at McDonald Jones Stadium on March 18, 2017 in Newcastle, Australia. (Photo by Tony Feder/Getty Images)

Injury updated on Mitch Barnett and Daniel Saifiti

Rehabilitation is continuing to track smoothly for Newcastle Knights forward Mitchell Barnett, who had shoulder reconstruction surgery in the off-season.

Barnett and fellow forward Daniel Saifiti are both recovering from shoulder surgeries, as the pair follow a post-operative training program before transitioning into full pre-season training with the rest of the squad.

“Surgery went really well,” Barnett told Knights TV.

“I’m back running now and hopefully I’ll move into some upper body weights in the coming weeks, to start building up.”

The 23-year-old explained that since the beginning of pre-season training, it has mostly been about getting more kilometres into the legs.

“We’re (Saifiti and Barnett) just building up our legs as much as we can and then transitioning into getting our upper body size and strength back,” Barnett explained.

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“Hopefully I’ll be back to full strength and full fitness ready for the start of next season.”

Last year’s NRL Player of the Year admits he’s keen to get back to contact training.

“If I had it my way, it would be as soon as possible and by Christmas,” he said.

“It’s more realistically the new year I will be back at full training though.

“It’s tough because we would prefer to be out there with all the boys, doing what they’re doing.”

With new recruits Aidan Guerra, Chris Heighington, Slade Griffin and Jacob Lillyman all vying for a starting spot in the Knights forward pack, Barnett wants to make sure he kicks on from a stellar 2017 season.

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“First of all, I want to get back out on the paddock with 100 percent fitness… but I would also like to work out where I will be playing,” Barnett stated.

“I want to lock down a starting back row spot and I really have to work hard to achieve that.

“Once I get a crack there, I can hold on to that for the year, while I also want it to be a very successful year for the Club.”