Josh Mantellato

Players know when a move is right and for Newcastle Knights winger Josh Mantellato, having been involved within the club for some years now, a new challenge is required.

At 26, Mantellato made his NRL debut and joined the full-time squad at the beginning of the 2014 season.

The Italian World Cup representative currently leads the NSW Cup in point-scoring and with a chance to cement a first-grade spot in England, the decision was an easy one for Mantellato.

“I had only played for one local club before joining Newcastle so it was a big move for me to come up here, but it was the best decision I have ever made because I got to tick off the one thing I have always wanted to do and that was to play NRL,” said Mantellato.

“Obviously the opportunity to play regular first grade is better for me in England and hopefully the three years I am over there I can establish myself as a first grade super league player at Hull KR.”

For the Knights fans, Mantellato has no intentions of forgetting about the club and is thankful for the opportunities he was afforded over the years.

“Thank you to the Club for having faith in me,” he said.

“To make my debut at 26, Wayne (Bennett) went out on a limb to put me in and I am really grateful for the opportunity.

“And to the supporters, you are the best in the NRL!”

Despite knowing he is set to depart at season’s end, Mantellato is focused on helping the Knights potentially win the NSW Cup competition.

“We are going pretty well in NSW Cup, we are finding our feet and hitting some form heading into the semis,” said Mantellato, who scored four tries in Saturday’s Round 22 win over Cronulla.

“With three games to go we can give the finals a good shake, I can’t wait.”

By ricky

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