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NRL: Knights stars brighten junior members on a gloomy day


The Newcastle Knights might have just motivated the next Kalyn Ponga, Jacob Saifiti or Bradman Best on a gloomy afternoon at McDonald Jones Stadium.

Thanks to the support of Newcastle Permanent, the Hunter NRL club staged its Junior Members Clinic on Tuesday 28 November, with a host of male and female stars, including the aforementioned trio, along with Caitlin Johnston, Georgia Roche, Kayla Romaniuk, Tyson Gamble, Jackson Hastings, Phoenix Crossland, Jayden Brailey and many more, putting 100-plus youngsters through several challenges.

The Newcastle Knights hosted their Junior Members Clinic on Tuesday afternoon. Photo: Rod Thompson

The squad members placed the kids, aged between five and 15, into several groups, rotating between each of the fun circuits, which was followed by a signing session.

And, even if it was raining outside, no one’s spirits were dampened, given the huge smiles on the children’s faces.

Manager football communications and strategy Frank Barrett interviews Knights superstar Kalyn Ponga at the Junior Members Clinic. Photo: Rod Thompson

“Taking part in the Junior Members Clinic is hugely important,” Ponga told the Newcastle Weekly.

“The Knights are community-based, everything we do comes off the back of our fans, young and old.

“Sometimes you forget, our supporters are the longest-standing part of this club.

NSW State of Origin star Jacob Saifiti announces he’s staying at the Newcastle Knights. Photo: Rod Thompson

“And, with the juniors coming through, we hope to inspire them.

“It doesn’t only give the kids energy, we feed off it, too.

“So, we always look forward to it.

“Ever since I arrived in Newcastle, this event’s been building… it’s great to witness the response [today].

Fun was the name of the game at the Junior Members Clinic. Photo: Rod Thompson

“It’s when you see their happy faces and what it means to them.

“That’s when you realise we play a pretty special role in the community.

“So, knowing that we’re giving back and inspiring them at the same time is pretty awesome.

“I know all of the boys get a kick out of that as well.”

Newcastle Knights front-rower Jacob Saifiti. Photo: Rod Thompson

The upbeat atmosphere also added to the buoyant mood within the Newcastle ranks, following the news that Saifiti had just inked a three-year contract extension to stay at the Knights.

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