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They're four country boys who've bonded over footy and fun to become best mates.  

Meet Brodie Jones (Cessnock), Kurtis Dark (Old Bar), Tom Starling (Kincumber) and Brendan O’Hagan (Berkeley Vale), the next generation Newcastle Knights who have starred in the premiership-winning Harold Matthews side this season.     

In the wake of last Saturday's grand final win over Penrith, the Club's first under-16s trophy in 14 years, Knights TV sat down with the foursome to discuss their success, special mateship and Saturday's National Final match-up against the Northern Pride in Townsville.  

And it didn't take long to discover that these lads are close friends, on-and-off the field.   

"We met each other through the Knights and now we are best mates and we do everything together," O'Hagan says grinning.        

"Before our games we always go to someone's house to relax and prepare for the game.

"So if we’ve got a home game, we usually go to Brodie’s place at Cessnock and have a ride around on the motorbikes. 

"It's a bit of fun, but it also goes to show the mates you can make from footy and it helps on the field."      

There's no doubting these four emerging Knights are tight, so tight in fact they all have their own personally labelled speedos they wear to every single match.  

Hooker Tom Starling says the budgy smugglers idea was inspired by Dank, who would always wear speedos on game day.   

"Kurtis had speedos and we all wondered why he did," he explains.

"We just wore our skins, but then Brodie jumped onboard and started wearing his old speedos. So we all talked and said we might as well get some budgy smugglers with Knights and our names written on them. 

"So we've got these bright red speedos and we always wear them to the game, so they are a bit of a good luck charm I guess."           

Dark, a relative of Roosters star Boyd Cordner, can't help but laugh when the special speedos are mentioned.  

All jokes aside though, the Old Bar Pirates junior couldn't be prouder to now call his fellow Newcastle players his best mates. 

"It was good playing with these bunch of boys," Dark beams.

"Coming from Old Bar I didn’t know anyone at the start, but I’ve got to know everyone really well.

"These boys are probably going to be my best mates throughout life now.

"And even if we separate, we’ll always know each other.

"So it will be great to win the national title, that would be a good thing for the Knights." 

While Dark didn't know any of his Knights teammates prior to joining the Club, Starling and O'Hagan are close mates from the Central Coast.      

As Kincumber Colts and Berkeley Vale Panthers juniors respectively, the pair fought out some epic battles against each other until they joined forces in the halves at representative level for the Central Coast.

Now the duo are grand final heroes at Newcastle with a chance of becoming the best under-16s side in the country.

It's a realistic prospect that excites Starling.  

"We’ve trained six months for this, so it’s a big achievement for the boys and we’ve all enjoyed it," he says. 

"We are looking forward to going up to Queensland and hopefully we can get the win up there.

"We’ve definitely got to play our own game, because that’s what we’ve been saying all the way through the comp.

"If we just worry about ourselves, then we have the team to come out on top against any team we play against." 

It's a train of thought backed by coach Tony Gleeson, who is excited to take on the Northern Pride for national supremacy.  

"It’s going to be interesting," Gleeson says.

"I guess the thing for us, even though we’re relaxed and we’ve enjoyed the grand final, we want to go up there and make the most of it.

"We are not undervaluing what we’ve achieved this year.

"There is a little bit of state rivalry and I’m sure all the boys will be keyed up for it and ready to go." 

The majority of Newcastle's Harold Matthews team are local products, including a remarkable 13 players who attend Hunter Sports High in Newcastle. 

Gleeson believes this is a testament to the school's focus on league, even including it as an official subject on the syllabus.  

"The school has worked really hard to get some guys into the program," he says.

"They are probably touching the footy 100 times more than the other guys not in the program.

"You see that skill level evident when they are at training as well.

"It’s a really good program and it’s definitely helping.

"My mum and dad always said that if rugby league was a subject at school I would have been a straight ‘A’ student (laughs).

"It’s great to see and hopefully we can continue to produce quality footballers into the future."

If the current crop of players at the Knights is anything to go by, then Gleeson will most likely get that wish.

The Knights Harold Matthews side will take on the Northern Pride for the National Title from 1.45pm at 1300SMILES Stadium at Townsville. 

TEAM: 1. Matt Cooper, 2. Brayden Musgrove, 3. Heath Gibbs, 4. Nicolas O’Meley, 5. Samuel McIntyre, 6. Nash Birch, 7. Brendan O’Hagan, 8. Pasami Saulo, 9. Tom Starling, 10. Brodie Jones (c), 11. Joel Taylor, 12. Jayden Hocking, 13. Kurtis Dark. Bench: 14. Tex Hoy, 15. Matthew Atchison, 16. Hudson Young, 18. Jack Weir, 19. Luke Casson, 20. Kynan Blasczak, 22. Luke Huth, 24. Lachlan Bent.