Hard-working Singleton Greyhounds product Josh King will notch up 50 NRL games for Newcastle Knights against the Cowboys on Saturday at McDonald Jones Stadium

Milestone: Young Knights prop Josh King will celebrate a milestone when he plays his 50th NRL game for the club against the North Queensland Cowboys. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers.
Milestone: Young Knights prop Josh King will celebrate a milestone when he plays his 50th NRL game for the club against the North Queensland Cowboys. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers.

JOSH King tells it like he plays it - straight up the middle, no frills.

Ask him about his 50th NRL milestone game for the Newcastle Knights against the North Queensland Cowboys on Saturday and he says how proud he is to have reached the half century mark.

But, in the same breath, he admits he probably hasn't earned the right to have played that many.

"Looking back now, reaching 50 games, I probably haven't earned it to play 50 games but it was just more the position we were in as a club," the Knights prop said.

"We didn't really have many other players who could come in and play so I was very lucky in that sense that I was able to play a few games before I was actually ready to be playing first grade.

"As disappointing as some of those games were, we were building - we were just a lot of young guys learning so like I said, I'm proud to have played this many."

The Singleton Greyhounds junior did it a whole lot tougher than any of his teammates when he debuted back in 2016, juggling a full-time job as an electrical apprenticeship at Bulga Coal Mine with TAFE studies and his footy in that first year.

To paint a picture, for just his fourth top grade game, a Monday night home clash against Parramatta, King was out of bed at 5.30am and at work by 7 before knocking off at 1pm to get home for a bite to eat before getting to Newcastle to prepare to play that night.

The following day, while teammates were recovering, nursing bumps and bruises following the 20-18 loss to the Eels, King was back at work, churning through a 12 hour shift to make up for leaving early the previous day.

But, the tough 23-year-old prop, whose favourite beverage is a cold glass of milk, never complained, believing finishing his apprenticeship would give him something to fall back on should his league career go belly-up.

"I had started my apprenticeship before I went full time with footy so it was something I was passionate about," King said.

"Obviously, there's a lot of talk around footy not lasting forever, at any time it can sort of come to an end depending on injuries.

"It was definitely something I was passionate about getting finished."

"Every day, the coaches were good about me showing up late and bosses were good with me leaving early, and every day I'd come home every night to a home cooked meal from mum with my clothes washed, so I really can't complain.

"I've come a long way since then and I just feel proud and privileged to play 50 games for the Knights."

King made 13 appearances before notching his first win in Knights colours, a 34-20 win over Canberra in round two in 2017.