Merewether Carlton second-rower Mark Wade will be among the new faces when the Newcastle Knights assemble for the start of pre-season training today.
The 21-year-old signed a one-year deal with the Knights yesterday and will undergo fitness testing and a medical assessment with the rest of the squad at the University of Newcastle today.
The second-tier contract caps an amazing year for the Dubbo-born man mountain
The powerfully built 21-year-old was instrumental in the Greens’ record-breaking undefeated season in the Newcastle and Hunter Rugby Union and named the competition’s player of the year.
The Knights were one of three clubs, along with premiers the Manly Sea Eagles and the Canberra Raiders, to express an interest, but his preference was to stay in Newcastle, where he is studying a double degree in surveying and engineering.
Earmarked for the back row, Wade will train over the summer with the full-time squad but is expected to begin in the NSW Cup.
It is a similar path to that of former Waratahs and NSW Country rugby union back-rower Mark Taufua.