Alex McKinnon: Fitness, tech and his biggest health challenges
Former NRL player Alex McKinnon reveals his health tips
Since signing with the nib Newcastle Knights in 2017 and accepting the team’s sole captaincy in 2019, Mitchell Pearce has cemented himself as a community leader and true-blue Novocastrian.
So, when we were given the chance to sit down with Mitch, the first thing we wanted to know was what it takes to become a Knight – and it’s much more than exceptional footy skills.
The Check Up (TCU): What does being a Newcastle Knight mean to you?
Mitchell Pearce: The Knights is a great club. It’s a privilege to be named Captain and to play for such a proud club in a great town.
Growing up, with Dad playing for the Tigers, I was almost a Tigers fan by association; but, I use to love watching the Johns’ boys (Andrew and Matthew) in the early days. Being a young halfback, I definitely watched the Knights closely, especially because of the 97’ grand final.
Our family used to head up to South West Rocks to go camping every year. I know it’s a little out of the region, but I remember seeing the Knights supporter flags up in Taree and at the local RSL. Even back then, I felt like I had a close affiliation with the club.
TCU: How do you think you embody some of the characteristics of a Newcastle Knight?
Mitch: I play tough and I always try and give 100%. It’s important for me to work hard and be very passionate around the boys and on the field.
TCU: Have you grown since you started your journey in 2018 with the Newcastle Knights?
Mitch: Yes, definitely. Over the last few years, I’ve tried to keep evolving with my leadership. Coming from the Roosters to the Knights was a different kind of challenge footy-wise, because I’d come from an experienced, winning team to a young team that didn’t have the years of experience behind them.
It was a challenge, but I had to adjust to evolve my game; A big part of that has been in changing up my leadership style, so that I can be the best I can be for myself and the team.
TCU: What are some of the things you love about Newcastle?
Mitch: I really enjoy the pace and the quieter life; it’s a nice change from when I lived in Sydney. And like most Novocastrians, I love the coastline and the beaches.
TCU: What’s your go-to pregame meal?
Mitch: I love a good pasta from Don Beppino’s Italian restaurant here in Merewether. I’m a regular visitor there and I’m always buying pasta before a game.
TCU: How have you found the last few months dealing with COVID-19?
Mitch: I’ve been focussing on making it really enjoyable. I’m trying to live with less - with all of the restrictions - and slowing everything down in life.
TCU: What’s the go-to piece of gym equipment you’ve been using during quarantine?
Mitch: I love the barbell with weights. There is a fair bit of variety and you can do a lot with them in a backyard weight session.
Related: Mitch Pearce takes you through a 10-minute stretch routine you can do at home.
TCU: What’s the one thing you’re most excited to do once all the restrictions are lifted?
Mitch: Marry my fiancé, Kristen.
TCU: What would your fairy-tale season look like this year?
Mitch: Easy. The Knights to win the competition would hands-down be the ultimate end to our season.
Love your footy and keen to read more? Check out our NRL page for articles and interviews with Alex McKinnon, Paul ‘The Chief’ Harragon and NSW Blues players.