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Geoff Gidley always knew Newcastle was a working class community but this was a complete shock.

Watching on as the Knights trained at Wests Mayfield during the week, Gidley was faced with a sight he never thought he'd see on a football field.     

Normally the Newcastle players don their traditional red and blue at training, but on this occasion it was the distinctive colours of fluro orange that lit up the field.        

For Gidley, a bloke who has been driving coal trains with Pacific National since 1975, it was a view that certainly warmed the heart.                 

"When I first walked in at training I thought, ‘oh the blokes from work are here," Gidley senior says with a grin.

"That’s what it looked like." 

Of course, Knights' training hadn't been taken over by coal miners. 

You see, our NRL stars were donning special edition hi-vis replica mining jerseys in support of the area's miners. 

It's an industry of vital importance that will be recognised at Hunter Stadium this afternoon when the Knights take on the Wests Tigers on 'Voice for Mining Family Day'.

Talk to Gidley and he is first to admit he wouldn't be where he is today without the coal mines.       

"I wouldn’t have had a job," he says frankly.

"It’s a massive industry for Newcastle.

"I think you’ll find that the town will come together again this Sunday," he says.

"I was talking to Matthew (Gidley) and he seems to think it will be a real good crowd.

"And just seeing the strip today was great.

"Hopefully they can get out there and get a good win, because we need one bad at the moment." 

Gidley has plenty of found memories throughout his mining career spanning three decades, but he reckons there is one moment that will always bring a cheeky smirk to his face.

The day he took an enthusiastic young Kurt out on a coal train for the first time at Narrabri and let's just say, it didn't end so well. 

"He was keen as mustard to go out there at the start," he recalls.

"But then I think we went no more than about 10 kilometres and he said, ‘dad you’ll have to stop the train’.

"I said, ‘oh mate I can’t stop the train.’

"He said, ‘well I’m crook’ and I had to get Anne on the phone and we ended up going to Wee Waa, which was about an hour out of Narrabri, and my wife came and picked him up. 

"That was the first and only trip on a train for Kurt, it was unbelievable." 

That mishap aside, Gidley senior couldn't be prouder of his son Kurt as a player and person. 

He says this is especially the case in 2014, a season where the Knights have struggled yet their skipper as never given in.  

"I’m extremely proud of Kurt, but this year probably more than ever," he enthuses.

"Just all the problems on and off the field, but he just keeps aiming up.

"But that’s Kurt, because he has always had a big heart."

It's why Gidley senior will be at Hunter Stadium today cheering on Kurt and his beloved Knights, while proudly donning his mining shirt. 

"Oh absolutely, I’ll be there in my high-vis shirt," he smiles.

Just like thousands of other local miners who represent our Hunter region with pride.