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Picture this. 

You're in the Knights' dressing room preparing to run onto the hallowed turf of Hunter Stadium.  

Surrounded by some of your best mates, you sit in the same cubicles as first grade stars Jarrod Mullen, Kurt Gidley and big Willie Mason. 

Then once your footy boots are laced up and you've heard the coach’s final instructions, you walk through the tunnel and onto the field just like your heroes do every weekend. 

Now put yourself in the growing shoes of an excitable schoolboy whose dream is to one day play in the NRL.    

Sounds like the ultimate experience doesn't it?  

Well it's a goal that became reality for 16 lucky schoolboy sides at the 2014 Knights All Schools Knockout grand finals at Hunter Stadium on Wednesday.

St Joseph's Aberdeen, the former school of inspirational injured Knight Alex McKinnon, was one of the schools that competed on the day and loved every minute of the behind-the-scenes access.     

"Oh they were like kids in a candy shop," grins St Joseph's coach Michael Eccleston.     

"The kids were looking at all the equipment they’ve got there and it was really important to them.

"The carnival is really well run though by the club and it gives the kids a bit of a connection with the Knights and it’s also a big day." 

Along with St Joseph's Aberdeen, the 2014 Knights All Schools Knockout also hosted teams from Scone, Taree, Warners Bay and Singleton.   

St Joseph's Lochinvar was the standout side on the day, winning all four age groups (13-16) in the Secondary Schools grand finals.

Club Participation and Development Manager Matt Lantry was rapt with the success of this year's knockout.   

"It was great to see that we’ve got a wide catchment of teams and we are just not in and around Newcastle, but all through the Hunter Valley," Lantry says.

"So we have schools from everywhere and it’s good to see.

"It also gives the kids a bit of a taste of life here at the Knights. 

"It’s not every day you come to Hunter Stadium and you get a tour of the facilities here and everything.

"What it does for us is open the eyes of the kids that are playing rugby league and fuels that fire and burns that passion a little more to come and wear the red and blue one day hopefully."

St Joseph's Aberdeen may not have won the day, losing their 14s decider 20-12 to St Joseph's Lochinvar, but coach Eccleston was still proud of his charges.

He also confirmed most of his side will be attending Sunday's big clash against the Titans, a match set-up to recognise and support McKinnon.       

"We are planning to have a heap of people attend the game," he says. 

"Alex means a lot to our school and our principal has direct contact with him.

"His father Scott was the coach of this team last year and there is also going to be a dinner at our school in November for Alex and we are expecting 500 people.

"So we’ve got a link to his family and it means a lot to our kids."

As the McKinnon situation as taught us, sometimes there’s more to rugby league than winning and losing.

2014 Knights All Schools Knockout Finals Day Results:

10 YEARS B: St Pauls Gateshead 12 d Holy Family Merewether 6

10 YEARS A: St Joseph’s Taree 10 d Scone PS 4

OPEN B: Denman PS 14 d Stockton PS 0

OPEN A: St Pauls Rutherford 26 d Tanilba Bay PS 0

U/13s: St Joseph’s Lochinvar 30 d Warners Bay High School 12

U/14s: St Joseph’s Lochinvar 20 d St Joseph’s Aberdeen 12

U/15s: St Joseph’s Lochinvar 28 d St Pius Adamstown 10

U16s: St Joseph’s Lochinvar 36 d Singleton High School 16

*The grand final winners will now compete in the State Carnival at St Marys in Sydney later this month.

The Primary School carnival will be held on Monday July 28, while the Secondary School carnival has been set down for July 29