Time for Mullen to up the tempo

For the last few years, Jarrod Mullen has been good, without being great. Now, he has to realise that this is a do-or-die season for him, and his coach knows it too.

As Mullen astonishingly approaches his 7th season as a first-grader (hard to believe he started as a 16-year old), coach Rick Stone believes that Mullen is more than ready to finally reach the heights that he had placed on him all those years ago.

‘‘He’s 23 years old and he’s played in 100 first-grade games,’’ Stone said.

‘‘I’ve been involved with Mullo since late ’05 and I’ve really seen him mature as a person, and physically and as a footy player as well.

‘‘I’m quietly confident this is going to be Jarrod Mullen’s best season to date.

‘‘I think he’s learnt a lot about himself and footy and preparation in the last few years, and I’m hoping it’s going to come to fruition this year.’’

In what was his first surgery free pre-season, Mullen is eager for the Knights next trial at Port Macquarie to get underway, and he might just have the added boost of being captain.

Like coach Rick Stone, Mullen is eager to get the ball rolling, and he too is hoping that he has a fantastic year.

‘‘Yeah, definitely,’’ he said.

‘‘I had a really disappointing start to last season and had a good look at myself and talked to the coaches.

‘‘I sorted out a few things, on and off the field, and I think I showed enough in the last six to eight weeks of the comp that I was finding my best form.

‘‘Hopefully I can bring that into this season and play even better.

‘‘I’m sure you’ll see my best this year.’’

Mullen, who has played a lone Origin game in 2007, was also a part of the Emerging Blues Squad, and the feedback Mullen received from it, was a positive one.

‘‘[NSW coach] Ricky Stuart was really, really impressed with him at that camp a couple of weeks ago,’’ Stone said.

‘‘I said to Mullo to take what he’s been doing here [with the Knights] into the Origin camp, and I’m sure everyone around him would have been impressed with how he presented himself and the energy he showed and how he can be an extension of the coach at training and in games.’’

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