Hunter Stadium was a seasOver 5,000 miners and their families, along with suppliers and supporters of the industry, packed the stadium helping Newcastle Knights fans make this one of the largest Hunter Stadium crowds in 2014.
Alongside the Knights cheerleaders, an honour-guard of miners lined the player’s tunnel to welcome the Knights players on to the ground. The team played for the first time in a special high-vis replica ‘miners’ jersey in support of the region’s miners and to celebrate all that mining brings to the Hunter region and state.
And to demonstrate the proud history our miners have as part of the Hunter community, three generations of miners from a Newcastle family were flown into the ground by the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service to deliver the match ball. The Hunter’s mining sector - companies and individual miners - are major supporters of the Westpac Rescue Chopper in recognition of the valuable service it provides to the region and the state.
Newcastle Knights Chairman, Paul Harragon, said today’s Voice for Mining Family Day shows the connection between the Hunter’s coal miners and the Knights is as strong as ever.
“It was really important we show our support for Hunter miners and their families today. The mining industry is huge in our community and rugby league is also really important to the people of the Hunter, so I think it’s a great fit,” Harragon said.
NSW Minerals Council CEO Stephen Galilee said the second Voice for Mining Family Day was a shot-in-the-arm for the Hunter mining community, especially the 12,000 mine workers and their families who live in the Hunter and love their footy.
“Mining and the Knights are both icons of the Hunter, and it’s been great to see these two icons celebrated today. A strong mining industry means a strong economy and more jobs for workers and their families across Newcastle and the Hunter. Local mining is going through a very challenging time, so today was an important show of support for our industry and our people,” he said.
Early in the day, NSW Mining and the Knights announced the winner of a fan based competition to pick the greatest Knights line-up ever. Using a specially designed app, more than 500 fans and miners took on a panel of experts to select the best ever blue and red dream team (or even high-vis orange and blue, in this case).
The winning Knights dream team included greats like Paul ‘The Chief’ Harragon, Andrew Johns, Matt Gidley and Ben Kennedy.
Members selected as part of the of the World Class Knights team were presented the special high vis miners jersey to commemorate the Voice for Mining Family Day.
The full team selected:
The full World Class Knights team as selected by the expert panel is:
1. Robbie O'Davis
2. Adam MacDougall
3. Matt Gidley
4. Timana Tahu
5. Akuila Uate
6. Jarrod Mullen
7. Andrew Johns
8. Paul Harragon (c)
9. Danny Buderus
10. Tony Butterfield
11. Steve Simpson
12. Ben Kennedy
13. Marc Glanville
14. Mark Sargent
15. Adam Muir
16. Matthew Johns
17 Kurt Gidley
The special Newcastle Knights high-vis replica miners jersey is on sale now at the Hunter Sports Superstore or at www.newcastleknights.com.au.