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Armstrong's sleepless night before shining as Knight

Newcastle fullback David Armstrong admits he could not sleep the night before he dazzled on debut in the NRL as injured superstar Kalyn Ponga's replacement.

The 23-year-old woke up in the middle of the night before the 18-14 win over the Dolphins at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday.

He was wide awake while running for 187 metres, scoring a try, saving one on an old foe and making two line breaks in a man-of-the-match display.

During the lead up, Armstrong was presented with his No.1 jersey by 1997 Knights grand final hero Darren Albert. The nerves kicked in an extra notch.

"The whole week I was nervous," Armstrong said.

"I am lucky to have a good group of senior boys in the team.

"A lot of them played plenty of NRL games and they just reminded me it's a just another footy game.

"But I still built myself up and I was nervous the whole week.

"I bloody woke up at one o'clock this morning and had a light sleep all the way up until we had to go to brekkie."

With Ponga out of action for 12 weeks with a Lisfranc injury to his foot, Armstrong can get ready for plenty more breakfasts with the team.

Armstrong was born in Moree but said he played most of his football in Queensland. He once scored 38 tries in a season with the Goondiwindi Boars. It's no surprise who his heroes are.

"Darren Lockyer … I thought he was a pretty special player, and probably Johnathan Thurston as well, two Queenslanders," he said.

"It's pretty crazy, playing at Suncorp as well.

"The debut was everything I expected …  fast and physical."

His parents live near the NSW/Queensland border close to the small town of Boomi where his father manage a cotton farm. Needless to say he had plenty of support from friends and family.

"There would have been over 100 there in the end," he said

""It's just special that they all come down. We live probably six hours away, so most of them travelled. It was just special to have them come down here."

One of the highlights of the clash was the battle between Armstrong and his fullback opponent Trai Fuller, the best player for the Dolphins. The debutant made one try saver on Fuller that was probably the difference.

"I used to play against Trai in the in the Murri Carnival. He actually once got me with a good shot," Armstrong said.

"So it was good to get him back with a with a win there today."

The Knights host the Warriors on Sunday.

"I'm not looking too far ahead … just trying to do everything right day-to-day at training," Armstrong said.

"I think if you get most of that right, everything on the weekend will take care of itself.

"We've got a good senior group here. They drive the standards and keep the ball rolling."