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Sio’s long-term future won’t hinge on footy

Sio’s long-term future won’t hinge on footy TweetFacebookKen Sio is off contract at the Knights at the end of the season but has already made adecision about his long-term future.
Nanjing Night Net

“Whatever happens with my footy, we’ll be coming back here to Newcastle to live when it’s all over,”he said this week.

“The family loves it here and my partner [Victoria] has a good job. This is where we want to settle down long-term.Hopefully, there will be no reason to have to leave.”

Truth is, the Knights would be mad to let him go.

Sio isnotthe game’s most flamboyant or fashionable winger. Far from it.

But hedoesn’t earn the big dollars that plenty of the NRL’s high-profile finishers demand either andrarely hands in a bad performance.

Knights coach Nathan Brown says Sio’s strength is that there is only a small gap between his best and his worst performances.

“You know what you are going to get every week with Kenny,”Brown said.

“He’s consistent, reliable and knows how to finish. You never have to worry about him and off the field, he’s a really good family man who does everything right.”

Scoring hat-tricks, like he did against the Wests Tigers in Tamworth last weekend, certainly won’t hurt Sio’sprospects of landing a new contract.

Mr Reliable: Knights winger Ken Sio has scored five tries in three appearances in the top grade this season since coming back into the side following a season-ending injury to centre Tautau Moga. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

While he scored 37 tries in just 57 games for Parramatta in his four seasons at the club, his three tries against the Tigerswas his first hat-trick in the NRL and just the second of his career.

Ittook his tally to five tries from three games this season since breaking back into the top grade. Last season, he scored the same number in 21 games.

“It’s taken me five years [in the NRL]to get one,”Sio joked about his hat-trick.

“I’ve scored a lot of doubles but getting that hat-trick was pretty special and I thank all the boys that did the plays that set me up.”

A regular in the top grade last season, Sio found himself in NSW Cup to start the season with Nathan Ross and ShaunKenny-Dowall preferred on the wings.

And had it not been for centre Tautau Moga’s season-ending knee injury against St George Illawarra in round four, Sio may still have been playing there.

But ask him about his lower grade experience and he finds apositive rather than a negative.

Pressure: Manly winger Aku Uate is likely to come under extra pressure from his old club.

“That’s the thing with having depth in our squad, it brings out your A game,”he said.

“Going back to reggies and starting off the year there, it gave me a real drive to keep working hard on the stuff I need to improve on.

“Instead of going back and kicking stones, it adds more fuel to the fire to keep improving every week.

“Last year, we didn’t have that so you virtually knewyou were going to get picked. It just makes a difference to your mind-set.”

Sio, who has shown his versatility this season by switching to the left wing after playing on the right side last season, will be faced with keeping former Knights flyer Aku Uate under wraps when the Knights face Manly on Friday night at Brookvale’s Lottoland.

“I didn’t markhim last season because we were on opposite sides but we’ll be up against each other this time,”he said.

“We all know how Aku is. He runs it hard, is fast but hopefully, we can put him under some pressure.”

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