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NRL: Lucas ready to ‘rip in’ for vacant Knights’ role


He might be in the box seat to replace Lachlan Fitzgibbon in the forwards but Dylan Lucas isn’t counting his chickens before they hatch.

With the Newcastle Knights’ fan favourite departing for the Warrington Wolves, the 23-year-old Illawarra product seems the logical fit for the NRL club’s second-row.

Despite originally being a centre, the youngster transitioned into the new role late this season, earning a finals’ starting spot against the New Zealand Warriors.

Newcastle Knights stars Dylan Lucas and Brodie Jones with members of the Thornton Beresfield Bears under-15s. Photo: Rod Thompson

Now, Lucas is determined to turn it into a full-time gig as he returned to the training paddock in readiness for 2024.

“It’s a lot of fun [being back] to be honest,” he said.

“It is tough, however we’re all here… everyone’s ripping in, so that’s exciting.

“I actually started with the young boys a few weeks ago, which has been good.

“While my break was pretty cruisy, spending time with the family, I was keen to kick off the pre-season as soon as possible.

“For me personally, I wanted to get in there and get some work done early.

“The young guys came back in good nick, too, running PBs already, so they kept me accountable.

“I think that speaks for itself on how hungry the boys are.”

After making his debut against the Dolphins, Lucas went on to represent the Knights on seven other occasions.

And, he’s determined to add more to that tally.

“It was a good year for me,” the promising tyro said.

“Playing my first NRL game was very exciting and something I’ll never forget.

“From a club perspective, it was also a positive season, reaching the top eight and contesting the finals.

“However, we’re focused on 2024 now.

In the meantime, I’m doing everything I can to put my best foot forward and building a combination with him on that left edge.

Dylan Lucas

“We want to build on what we did and keep progressing forward.

“Plus, we need to get better as a group.

“But, there’s a good buzz around the place, obviously coming off a successful year.

“As for my own goal, I want to be in that starting 17 for round one.

“I have a pre-season where I can solely concentrate on the second-row.

“Last year was clearly new to me, a real learning experience.

“And, there’s more stuff for me to work on, so I’m excited to see where it goes.

“At the end of the day, I want to play in the top grade week-in, week-out.”

Lucas was adamant the “media circus” surrounding Bradman Best’s future would not distract the NRL squad either.

The blockbusting NSW centre became a free agent from 1 November, with both Newcastle and the Wests Tigers vying for his signature.

“He’s come back great as well, which just shows his mindset,” he said.

“It’s very exciting and I can’t wait to see what Braddy’s got in store next season.

“When it comes to contracts, we try not to talk about that as players.

“And, in this case, it’s his personal business.

“If Braddy wants to talk about it with someone, that’s his decision.

“But, we try and stay out of all that.

“It’s our job to make sure we’re performing well on the field… and that’s what we’re here to do.

“Obviously, I love playing with him, he’s one of my closest mates.

“If he opts to stay at the Knights, that will be great.

“In the meantime, I’m doing everything I can to put my best foot forward and building a combination with him on that left edge.

“I am soaking up every bit of advice.

“My sole focus is making sure I’m the best I can be every day.

“And, as a group, we’re determined to have another successful season under Adam O’Brien.”

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