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Knights legend Marc Glanville ready to tackle new Real NRL role

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If Marc Glanville tackles his new role with the same gusto he terrorised opposition packs during an illustrious ARL career then Tooheys Newcastle Rugby League (Real NRL) is in excellent hands.

The Newcastle Knights legend was appointed as the organisation’s new general manager at the weekend, taking over the reins from interim boss Charlie Haggett.

And, the tough-as-teak forward is eagerly looking forward to making a difference.

“I’ve been involved in rugby league just about all my life as a player, coach, administrator and commentator,” Glanville said.

“I believe I can offer a fair bit to the sport and, particularly, the Real NRL.

“We [the board and I] want to continue to make it the best competition outside of Sydney.

“We’re also keen to attract some of those better players back to this level of the game.

“Guys who have finished in the NRL or haven’t quite made it to the top grade.”

After debuting with the St George-Illawarra Dragons in 1986, Glanville made his name at the Knights, donning the “red, blue and white” on 188 occasions, before heading overseas to the Leeds Rhinos.

All up, he played 242 senior matches.

“Very enjoyable is how I’d sum it up,” the 55-year-old said.

“I was one of the lucky ones I suppose.

“There’s plenty of blokes who play footy but, probably, don’t have as long a career as I did.

“I feel blessed I had that.”

Newcastle Knights legend Marc Glanville.

Fittingly, the man known as MG was also a member of the mighty Knights outfit, which claimed one of the ARL’s greatest grand final victories, when Darren Albert’s try seven seconds from full-time broke a 16-all deadlock with the Manly Sea Eagles.

Eighth Immortal Andrew Johns unexpectedly went down a narrow blindside before slipping an inside pass to Albert, who raced over to score a 22-16 win – and secure Newcastle’s inaugural title.

“I played with some of the best players in the game,” he admitted.

“From Robbie O’Davis to Adam MacDougall, Owen Craigie to Mark Hughes, the Johns boys, Tony Butterfield to Billy Peden, Paul Harragon to Adam Muir.

“Really, there’s too many to name.

“But, winning the grand final with the Knights in my last-ever match was probably the main highlight.

“I was then fortunate to go to England and join the Rhinos.

“I also played in the first-ever Super League decider over there, which took place at Manchester United’s home ground, Old Trafford.

“Unfortunately, we were beaten by Wigan.

“However, it’s something I’ll never forget.

“Then, the following year, I played in the last-ever Challenge Cup final at Wembley Stadium, which we won.

“That was amazing – a wonderful experience to play in front of 80,000 people, on that revered ground, on that day.

“They’re some great memories for me.”

Rampaging Leeds Rhino Marc Glanville looks for support as the Castleford Tigers’ defence closes in. Photo: Getty Images

Even though his playing days ended decades ago, Glanville is no stranger to the Real NRL either, which welcomed the Wyong Roos and The Entrance Tigers to the fold in 2021.

“It’s definitely a strong comp,” he told the Newcastle Weekly.

“It was disappointing they couldn’t finish the season because of COVID-19; the play-offs were set to be pretty exciting.

“There are some good teams in there – and some terrific players as well.

“I’m fortunate enough my young bloke (Ryan) still plays with the South Newcastle Lions.

“So, I’ve watched him when I can, which means I’m watching the other sides’ players, too.

“I’ve been impressed by what I’ve seen.”

Although he doesn’t take up the position until 28 February, Glanville is already eyeing off a couple of modifications to the Real NRL.

“Hopefully, we won’t be disrupted by COVID-19 because it’s been an issue the past two years,” he said.

“We’re keen to make a few changes – whether that happens this season, I’m not sure.

“Something along the lines of the NRL’s Magic Round where all the teams play at the same venue.

“I’d like to see the Tri Series format, involving Illawarra and Canberra, continue as well.

“At this stage, everything’s looking good.

“We don’t want to try too many things straight away.

“However, you won’t know if they’ll work or not until you give it a go.

“We’ll do some things and, with any luck, they’ll be for the betterment of the game.”

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