Wingham rugby league product Mitch Barnett has recently returned to full contact training with the Newcastle Knights.
The 23-year-old had shoulder surgery in the off-season with the club announcing this week Barnett would join Daniel Saifiti and new recruit Tautau Moga in taking off the no-contact yellow jersey to resume training with the team.
“It’s good to get out of the yellow jersey and into full training because it’s been a long pre-season,” he told the club.
“It’s great to be back and I’m just keen to get in, get right for the trials and start the season.”
The Newcastle Herald reported in January that Barnett played most of 2017 with a dislocated shoulder yet still managed to make 22 appearances and rack up 763 tackles, second only to hooker Danny Levi.
In September he was announced as the recipient of the Danny Buderus Medal, awarded to the club’s standout performer.
The club said Barnett will miss this week’s closed trial against the Melbourne Storm, staying home to continue training at Knights HQ.
“It should be 100 per cent by the time the Parramatta (Eels) trial comes around but it’s more or less trying to get it stable and doing the movements I haven’t done in a long time,” Barnett explained.
“It will take a little bit yet but I’m confident it’ll be right for the Parramatta trial.”
The club reported that Barnett maintains getting back full fitness for the Eels trial was always his goal.
“We always aimed for the Parramatta trial at the start of the season, that was a rough gauge,” Barnett said.
“There were times where I thought I wouldn’t make that, but I’m exactly where I want to be leading into these trials.