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Alex McKinnon’s presence at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night was a sight that warmed the hearts of every Newcastle Knights player.

McKinnon surprised his teammates by turning up to their clash against the Bulldogs and skipper Kurt Gidley says it gave his side a huge boost.  

The inspirational forward spent time with his teammates in the sheds before the match, while he watched the match alongside Wayne Bennett in the coach's box.

Gidley couldn't have been happier to see McKinnon in good spirits and making positive steps in his recovery. 

"It was an instant smile on my face when I saw him in the dressing room," Gidley grins.

"It was a nice surprise and that’s what probably made it a little bit hard seeing him after the game today.

"It would have been great to get the result for him today, but it was still great having him here at the game.

"And it’s nice to see the progression he is making too from where he was.

"Me and a few of the other boys got dropped off at the hospital on the way down yesterday.

"It was great to see him, because I’d spoken to him on the phone.

"But he has got a great attitude Alex.

"It’s great to see him with a smile on his face."

A special thank you to the Bulldogs and their Members and fans for supporting Alex.