Newcastle Knights legend Danny Buderus has praised Australia Day honours recipient John Thomas, describing him as the “GOAT” at the NRL club.
The Lake Macquarie resident was awarded an OAM on Wednesday 26 January for his services to rugby league.
Thomas and Canberra administrator Mark Vergano, who are both highly-regarded in their respective sporting communities, were among 545 OAM beneficiaries in the 2022 awards.
The Knights’ training and match day logistics assistant has been involved with the game for more than five decades, the past 29 years in an official capacity with the Newcastle NRL squad.
He was also awarded Life Membership in 2010 and Clubman of the Year in 2018.
“John is the first to arrive and last to leave every training session,” football manager Buderus said.
“And, that includes game day as well.
“To us, he’s the Greatest Of All Time (GOAT).
“So, John thoroughly deserves his OAM.
“The honour is just reward for him.”
Prior to starting work with the Knights’ first grade side in early 2000, Thomas began his connection with the club in 1991 as team manager of Newcastle’s Harold Matthews squad.
He followed it up with stints with the SG Ball team and other representative outfits including NSW under-19s and the Junior Kangaroos.
Away from the Knights, Thomas was the Valentine-Eleebana Club secretary for a decade and Newcastle schoolboys’ treasurer for 25 years.
Meanwhile, Newcastle’s NRLW squad is building towards its historic debut in the NRL Telstra Women’s Premiership next month.
Under coach Casey Bromilow, the Knights will feature in two blockbuster triple-headers to kick-start their highly-anticipated campaign.
In its first-ever fixture, Newcastle tackles the Parramatta Eels at McDonald Jones Stadium from 3.50pm on 27 February.
The team then travels to Wollongong to face reigning premiers, the Brisbane Broncos, in round two at WIN Stadium on 6 March.
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