The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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Crowd favourite and Knights Premier League player Dan Spiteri has been given the role of impact player and hooker in the rapidly improving Knights side.
24 year old Spiteri has had an interesting rise up the ranks since his first game of Rugby League for Cessnock third grade at the start of season 2003. At that time the 175cm tall Spiteri weighed less than 70 kg and had played all his junior football in the halves in Rugby Union. He was given a tryout on the wing for the Goannas and proved to be an instant success and natural try scorer. In his first season of League he scored over 40 tries, setting a new Newcastle competition record. He rose from third grade to firstgrade, helped the Goannas win the Newcastle Premiership, and was named Newcastle rookie of the year.
Spiteri, or Spits as the Knights crowd refer to him, was given the opportunity to train with the Knights before the 2004 season, and grabbed the opportunity with both hands. He put on nearly 10 kg and improved his fitness level enough to be given a shot at playing on the wing for the Knights Premier League side. Since that time he has played 29 games of Premier League and scored 20 tries, despite spending more than his fair share of time on the bench. He has also represented Country in the 7s last season, and played 7s for Malta in this year?s Orara Valley comp at Coffs Harbour.
Spiteri has been used as hooker for his last three outings for the Knights, typically coming off the bench for 15 or 20 minutes late in the first half. He has made half a dozen clean breaks running from dummy half and scored one try from 10 metres out, also from dummy half. Knights fans hope to see the livewire little hooker develop into their version of Preston Campbell or Craig Wing, and to see him giving Danny Buderus 15 or 20 minutes much needed relief in firstgrade games in the near future.