Lifestyle & Culture

Why the Knights?

Pat Alderton takes a look at the season so far for the Knights’ women’s team and gives his reasons why you should show your support for our ladies in this year’s NRLW Finals Series.

When you think of our city’s cultural identity, there are a few landmarks that come to mind; there’s Newcastle Harbour, our world-renowned beaches, the deceased Queens Wharf Tower (may she forever live on in our hearts), and of course, the red and blue colours that are symbolic of the Newcastle Knights.

Unfortunately for us Novocastrians, the mighty Knights NRL squad hasn’t had a great time in recent years, but the recent success of our NRL Women’s (NRLW) team gives fans plenty to cheer for.

…One thing is for certain, the men’s team could certainly learn a thing or two from this courageous crew of superstars.

Some of the great Knights NRL teams of years gone by have been built on hardworking Newcastle locals who give their everything for the badge, if you’re an NRL fan, you’re probably thinking immediately of names like Paul Harrogan, Steve Simpson and Tony Butterfield.

But, in the modern game, club loyalty isn’t held at such a high value, players are doing more to secure a life post-rugby league and as such may not always stay in their hometown. That same passion and dedication to the club, however, is something that has started to creep back into the limelight with the NRLW Knights. Our NRLW squad is packed with local talent, the main names that come to mind are the Southwell sisters, Hannah and Jesse.

Hannah joined the Knights for her homecoming off the back of an NRLW Premiership with the Sydney Roosters, meanwhile her 17-year-old sister Jesse was granted a special exemption to play in the senior competition and is off the back of a Gold Medal with the Australian Seven’s Rugby team at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games. Hannah was unfortunately ruled out for the season with an ACL injury in the Knights’ opening game, but young gun Jesse is proving an integral part of the squad, and she bolsters a team full of local products like Belmont-born Caitlan Johnston, Muswellbrook’s Caitlin Moran and Newcastle’s Yasmin Clydsdale – partner of ex-Knights hooker Adam Clydsdale.

Our women have had a barnstorming start to this season’s NRLW campaign and have proven themselves to be a force to be reckoned with in the 2022 competition. After a disappointing campaign in 2021 where the Knights failed to win a single match, the team has had an extravagant turn of fortune and lost just one match from their first four and are sitting second on the competition ladder with one game left to play.

They were desperately unlucky not to be 4 from 4 after losing out to reigning premiers the Sydney Roosters by a late try, going down 18-16 last weekend.

The Knights will look to bounce back this weekend and will be bolstered by the return of star fullback Tamika Upton, who will look to get her team back on track as they head into the NRLW finals series and hunt for the club’s maiden women’s premiership.

It’s been a brilliant start to the season for our Knights ladies, and one thing is for certain, the men’s team could certainly learn a thing or two from this courageous crew of superstars. You can watch the Knights take on the St George Illawarra Dragons as they look to regain form ahead of the finals this Sunday at 3:45 pm. on Nine.

Feature Image by Newcastle Knights, no changes made.

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