Mika aiming for more than just impact

To some, the name Con Mika may not ring a bell. To Knights fans, he’s known as a human wrecking ball. There’s one aspect of his game that he wants to improve however, and that is, his endurance.

Whilst improving his endurance at this stage remains a constant work in progress, it has become one of his main focuses as a part of his pre-season training program.

Playing in 10 games in 2010, mostly from the bench, but he did get the chance to start for Newcastle in their last few games, and he performed well for a player who is only going to get better as he gets older.

The 21 year old remains a central part of the Knights team, and coach Rick Stone says that he has plans to increase the amount of minutes the second-rower will play as he gets him to provide impact.

‘‘With blokes like Con, you’ll find that most times it’s a gradual process and they’ve got to keep playing some games and you’ve got to keep extending them a little bit further each game and get them to play a little bit more time,’’ Stone said.

Stone said Mika had set a goal to play 12 games last season ‘‘and he would have made it except he had a small hamstring strain’’ and missed August games against the Bulldogs and Warriors.

‘‘He played some good games for us, and his consistency and his time on the field are probably the two things we need to keep working on with him,’’ Stone said.

‘‘Particularly defensively, the effort on effort department, and being selective with his off-loads whether they be pre-line or post-line, they’re a couple of things we’re continuing to try to iron out with Con.

‘‘He’s a talented player, no doubt about it, and he probably just needs to know he’s just as effective carrying the ball as he is passing the ball, because sometimes he gets into a habit of passing the ball before the line too much.

‘‘He’s a strong boy and he can play the ball quick for us, and he’s got some power in his frame as well, so he takes a bit of stopping.’’

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