In 1988, a team representing the Newcastle Knights first ran out onto the playing field. In terms of natural talent and financial resources the team was not well endowed. However in terms of courage and commitment the same team was without peer.
In those formative years, while the Club's win/loss record remained less than overwhelming, a fearful reputation was simultaneously being forged by the blue and reds, a reputation which the Club has carried as a badge of honour ever since.
As time has elapsed, success on the field has become more frequent. At all times however, the standards set in those formative years have applied. Names like Sargent, McCormack, Harragon, and Butterfield have become synonymous with what it means to play in the red and blue. The tradition has been faithfully perpetuated through the likes of Johns, Buderus and Gidley.
A play-off for fifth spot in 1990 was the first time many in the rugby league world took our Club seriously. Two years later semifinal football was a reality. A narrow one point loss in a preliminary semi in 1992 cost the team a chance at glory but confirmed its status as a team with an abundance of character. A semifinal appearance in 1995 was an early indicator of what was to come in the watershed year of 1997.
That season probably went a long way to describing what being a Newcastle Knight had become. The team was made up of around 70% local talent. Of the rest, most had adopted the town and Club of Newcastle as their home and played accordingly. It proved a valuable lesson.
The 1997 Optus Cup title was followed up with the unforgettable 2001 Telstra Premiership victory. Two premierships in the first fourteen years of the Club's existence creating an enviable record, and cementing the Club's hard-won reputation as consistently one of the best in the League.
Club History Timeline
• Team formed under the name Newcastle Knights, so named as Knights are men of steel, and Newcastle was a steel town;
• Entered the competition with a squad of young players building foundations for the future of the Knights;
• Sam Stewart first Knights Captain, Allan McMahon first grade coach; Sam Stewart and Adrian Shelford played for New Zealand and Rest of the World;
• Newcastle fans supported their new team with home games averaging 21,000 with a huge 30,000 fans for the Broncos game.
• Signed five class players to boost the ranks including Michael Hagan and Mark Sargent;
• We're one of the best defensive sides in the competition and in contention for semifinals berth all season;
• President's Cup side was the first Knights team to make the semifinals;
• Michael Hagan was selected for Queensland State of Origin side.
• Mark Sargent was selected for NSW State of Origin and was the first Newcastle player to represent Australia, touring England and France;
• There were six Knights in the Australian train on squad;
• Competition's equal top try scorer was Ashley Gordon with fifteen.
• First grade did not fulfil expectations, reserve grade had their most successful season finishing sixth;
• David Waite took over as first grade coach;
• Newcastle won their first major championship trophy, the Nissan Sevens;
• Mark Glanville and Michael Hagan played in every match for the season;
• Mike McLean selected in Queensland State of Origin side.
• Life membership of the Club awarded to Sam Stewart;
• First semifinal appearance in first grade;
• First grade lost the major semifinal to St George 2-3 finishing fourth on the table, their most successful season to date.
• Paul Harragon represented Australia;
• Mark Sargent named Captain of City and Paul Harragon named Representative Country Rugby League Player of the Year;
• David Boyd, Michael Hagan and Marc Glanville were the first players to pass 100 first grade games;
• Club Captain Michael Hagan left the Club to play for Halifax in Great Britain;
• Reserve grade were the minor premiers and grand finalists, losing by a narrow margin 5-4 to North Sydney.
• Mark Sargent and Robbie McCormack reached their 100th first grade game for the Club;
• Reserve grade were again the minor premiers and grand finalists going down to Cronulla;
• Five players selected for Country v City Origin;
• A record number of six in the Kangaroos train on squad.
• Reserve grade won the premiership after reaching their third consecutive grand final defeating Cronulla 22-10;
• First grade also had their best result finishing equal third after being undefeated in the competition until round 10;
• New point scoring record 549 points with 92 tries;
• It was the last year for Knights faithfuls Mark Sargent, Robbie McCormack, and Brad Godden.
• Marathon Stadium hosted the ARL v Fiji test match;
• Continued presence of Knights players in the representative ranks at both state and international level;
• Paul Harragon named Dally M Prop of the Year and Country Player of the Year for the second year running.
• The Club's 10 year anniversary in the competition;
• Knights first grade win the Optus Cup v Manly on "a perfect day", the winning try being scored by Darren Albert in the final six seconds. Captained by Paul Harragon and coached by Malcolm Reilly. Final score 22-16;
• Fairytale ending to Knights careers of Marc Glanville and Adam Muir.
• Most successful year ever for the Club as every grade reached the semifinals from the U16s to first grade;
• Farewelled coach Malcolm Reilly;
• Newcastle's home crowd exceeded all others in the premiership;
• Tony Butterfield earned his first "Blues" jersey;
• Ended the season on equal points with minor premiers Brisbane who won on points difference.
• First grade made it to the play off;
• Paul Harragon, one of the founding players, Club Captain since 1995, state and Australian representative, retired;
• It was an injury ridden season for first grade who used 33 players throughout the season.
• Finished outright third on the premiership table;
• Club Captain Tony Butterfield retired after a record 229 games for the 'red and blue';
• Life member Matthew Johns left the Club to play in England;
• Scored more tries in the season than any other team with 126;
• End of Warren Ryan's coaching at the Knights.
• Andrew Johns named Captain, Bill Peden Club Captain;
• Ex-Club Captain Michael Hagan takes over as first grade coach with enormous success winning the Telstra premiership against Parramatta;
• 15,000 people at Marathon Stadium at 3.30am following the victory;
• Newcastle had a record five Australian, three State of Origin and six country representatives.
• Lost minor premiership to Warriors on points differential;
• Big year for injuries losing valuable players at critical times. Many young players step up and take responsibilities;
• Andrew Johns takes over from Brad Fittler as Australian Captain.
• Andrew Johns and Robbie O'Davis play their 200th first grade games;
• Josh Perry becomes the latest State of Origin representative;
• Knights beat Broncos in Brisbane for the first time;
• Andrew Johns suffers severe neck injury;
• Knights make semifinals for the seventh year in succession.
• Andrew Johns suffers knee injury in round 3 and misses remainder of season;
• Danny Buderus Captains Newcastle and NSW Origin Blues in all 3 games;
• Knights finish 10th on the ladder, falling two spots clear of the top eight;
• Danny Buderus wins Dally M Player of the Year award;
• Danny Buderus named as Vice Captain to Darren Lockyer for Tri-Nations tournament against New Zealand and Great Britain;
• Danny Buderus captains Australian side against Great Britain through injury to Lockyer.
• Newcastle finish in last place for first time in club's history
• Matt Gidley, Danny Buderus and Steve Simpson play Country Origin
• Andrew Johns, Simpson and Buderus play Origin for NSW, Buderus as Captain
• Knight's coach, Michael Hagan, coaches the Queensland Origin Squad for the 2nd successive year
• Danny Buderus wins Dally M Hooker of the Year
• Johns plays 3 games for Warrington in the UK after completion of NRL season
• Andrew Johns played his final Test for Australia
• Kurt Gidley selected for Country Origin
• Danny Buderus captained the Blues for his 3rd consecutive season
• Andrew Johns became the games all time leading point scorer
• Newcastle end the season in 4th place on the competition ladder
• Knights defeat Manly at home in the first week of the finals, but bow out to Brisbane the following week
• Matthew Gidley finishes his career with Newcastle and joins English club St Helens
• Andrew Johns announces his retirement from rugby league
• Danny Buderus, Kurt Gidley and Clint Newton represent Country Origin.
• Jarrod Mullen and Kurt Gidley debut for NSW along with teammates Danny Buderus and Steve Simpson
• Knights suffer 7 straight losses from rounds 18 onwards
• Kurt Gidley (Knights Player of the Year) earns an Australian Test Jersey against New Zealand
• Knights finish in 9th position, just 2 points outside the NRL Top 8
• Newcastle had defeated 5 of the final top 8 teams during season 2008, including both Grand Finalists
• Danny Buderus finishes his NRL career with the Knights and joins Leeds in the British Super
• Kurt Gidley, Ben Cross, Steve Simpson and Danny Buderus represent NSW
• Kurt Gidley represents Australia in the Centenary Test and at Rugby League World Cup
• Side finishes 7th but is knocked out in week one of the final series
• Kurt Gidley and James McManus represent NSW
• Kurt Gidley represents Australia in the Anzac Test and 4 Nations Tournament
•Knights finished in 11th position
•Kurt Gidley Captains the NSW Blues
•Antonio Kaufusi joined the team mid season from the North Queensland Cowboys
•Zeb Taia and Junior Sa’u represented New Zealand and Kurt Gidley represented Australia
•Knights finished in 8th position
•Kurt Gidley and Akuila Uate play for NSW Blues
•Akuila Uate represents Australia, Kurt Gidley also selected but withdrew
•Hunter Sports Group take ownership of the Newcastle Knights rugby league club by a landslide vote
•Knights finished 12th after an indifferent first half of the season
•Danny Buderus returned to the Club
•Kurt Gidley suffers a season-ending shoulder injury
•Akuila Uate and Darius Boyd play for Australia
•Akuila Uate played 2 of 3 games for NSW, Darius Boyd played 3 games for QLD
•Willie Mason and Dane Gagai joined the Knights midway through the season
•Knights launched their Hall of Fame; inducting Allan McMahon, Paul Harragon, Matt Gidley, Andrew Johns and Michael Hagan
•Zeb Taia, Evarn Tuimavave, Kyle O'Donnell, Wes Naiqama, Joel Edwards and Junior Sa'u bid farewell at season's end
•Chris Houston, Tyrone Roberts, Kevin Naiqama, Robbie Rochow, Marvin Filipo and Will Smith re-signed with the Knights
•Timana Tahu reclaimed the top try-scoring record
•Akuila Uate was named Dally M Winger of the Year