During a five-game losing streak and a form slump, Newcastle gave Danny Levi and his manager permission to look for ‘opportunities’ elsewhere, despite being contracted until the end of 2020.
Levi was in a similar position last year, where he competed against off-season recruit Kurt Mann for Newcastle’s No.9 Jersey. To the 23-year-old’s credit, he was able to knuckle down and put in a sold pre-season which resulted in him donning the jersey.
Since having a heart-to-heart with coach Nathan Brown about his role, Levi’s energy around the rucks and dummy-half play has helped the Knights win their last three outings.
The Knights have been able to turn it around with consecutive wins against the Eels, Warriors and Bulldogs after their commanding loss to Gold Coast on Easter Sunday at Robina.
“I was pretty disappointed with myself with a couple of those games and Browny talked to me about simplifying a few things, and that seems to have worked for us,” Levi told NRL.com.
“There were a few games there where I definitely let myself down but I’ve never really let that get to me too much and I always had confidence that I’d bounce back, so it’s just about moving forward and keeping on building on it.”
Levi’s first 80-minute effort this season came against the Bulldogs, where he made 40 tackles and ran 89 metres and looks to back it up this week against the Dragons on Sunday.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. Last weekend gave me an opportunity to do it,” he said.
“I was feeling really good then our trainer Balin [Cupples] came on in the last 10 minutes and asked me if I could get through the 80.
“I’ve seen all our senior players, how much they can work when they’re under fatigue and how hard they still go, and it makes myself want to do the exact same thing and not let anyone down.
“It’s something that was good for me but now it’s about putting it back to back.”
Levi remains totally committed to the Knights, regardless of whether or not his manager, Mario Tartak, was having discussions with other NRL clubs.
“I don’t know. He’s doing what he does but I told him, and he told me, just keep focusing on your footy and that’s what I’ve done,” he said.
Coming to the Knights at such a young age, Levi believes that he has such a close bond with the club and the community and would love to continue his career there.
“I can’t say what every other team is like but I reckon we’d be one of the closest teams,” he said.
“That’s something that helps me out every day, showing up and seeing all the boys – I love all the boys here – so they keep my mind off those sort of things, and hopefully I get to stay with them.
“… I’ve got to make sure I concentrate on my footy and keep playing good, and like I said, I think everything will work out for me.”