If there’s one date on the calendar that lifts the Newcastle Knights, it’s the annual Voice for Mining Family Day.
Every season, Novocastrians’ favourite players run onto McDonald Jones Stadium wearing their specially-designed hi-vis replica mining jerseys to acknowledge the NRL club’s strong connection with the industry, which boasts a significant impact on the Hunter Valley economy.
And, in 2021, the Knights will tackle the St George Illawarra Dragons at home on Sunday 4 April.
Unfortunately, the day – sponsored by the NSW Minerals Council – was drastically scaled back in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But, it’s all systems go again this weekend, much to the delight of Knights front-rower Josh King.
A Singleton Greyhounds junior, and former electrical apprentice, he worked in the mines alongside his father.
“For me, due to my family link with the mining sector, it’s a very exciting day to wear the hi-vis jumper,” the young prop told the Newcastle Weekly.
“However, it is for the team, too.
“I think the town [Newcastle] was built on that blue-collar, mining mentality.
“There are so many businesses, other than the mines, that benefit from the industry as well.
“The Knights are always thrilled to put on a special jersey and play not just for Newcastle, but the entire Upper Hunter.”
Head coach Adam O’Brien recently praised King for his whole-hearted effort, which was rewarded with a contract extension at the end of 2020.
It also saw him snare a top 17 berth for the Knights’ opening round fixtures with the Canterbury Bulldogs, New Zealand Warriors and Wests Tigers.
“Josh’s work ethic and commitment to being the best he possibly can be is a testament to the person he is and means that he will get everything he deserves in football and in life,” he said.
“He is a great clubman with strong ties to his community.
“He’s as genuine as they come.
“Josh is deeply committed to doing his bit for the team – and doing it to the very best of his ability.”
Local miners and their families are encouraged to cheer on the Knights at “home” in their hi-vis, too.