IT'S the new-look coaching strikeforce Knights officials have put their faith in to finally end the club's NRL finals drought in 2020.
And Newcastle's playing group will get their first taste of life under new rookie coach Adam O'Brien, a former Group Seven player with the Batemans Bay Tigers, and his staff when pre-season training kicks-off this week at the club's Mayfield headquarters.
The entire squad, with the exception of Kangaroos prop David Klemmer, is expected to be on deck for the start of a six-week training block up until the Christmas break that is set to provide the players with a huge physical and mental test.
O'Brien, whose mentor Craig Bellamy is renowned for his pre-season training torture tests at Melbourne Storm, has promised his players will need to work extremely hard and "become comfortable with being uncomfortable".
"I will push the players' limits and yeah, they will have to work hard. We won't get anywhere if we don't. But at the same time, they will know I care about them," O'Brien said.
"That's the important thing and I think you will do anything for someone who you know cares about you."
Knights owner Wests Group has thrown unprecedented resources at the club's football department to give the team the best possible chance of playing finals footy for the first time in seven years.
O'Brien has hired two new assistant coaches - former Canberra Raiders head coach David Furner and ex-Manly and South Sydney assistant Willie Peters.
Furner, who was a Clive Churchill Medalist as a player, has won premierships as an assistant coach at North Queensland and South Sydney and was former Australian coach Tim Sheen's assistant with the Kangaroos.
Peters, an ex-halfback who played for Souths and St George Illawarra in the NRL and Wigan in England, has previously coached at Wests Tigers and Manly before spending last season as Wayne Bennett's assistant at the Rabbitohs.
For the first time, the Knights have employed transition coaches with Rory Kostjasyn stepping up from NSW Cup and Eric Smith [ex-Melbourne Storm] linking with the club.
Their job will be to work with the fringe players to prepare them for the NRL. Scott Dureau, who coached the Jersey Flegg Under 20's last season, steps up to take charge of the entire junior coaching and development program.
Knights captain Mitchell Pearce admits there will be an air of excitement around with the pre-season about to kick off under a new coaching regime.
"There'll obviously be some new voices and ideas and getting all the boys back together will be a real buzz," Pearce said.
"We've just come off an emotional season and you don't get over it straight away. It knocks you around so it's good to get away from it for a good break and come back in nice and fresh."