With the NSW Cup season done and dusted, Sunday’s grand final marked the final game played at the Club for a number of reserve grade Knights.
Nathan Ross took hold of the Knights TV mic to catch up with skipper Matt Hilder and Josh Mantellato about their thoughts on departing the Club as well as James Elias about what he's most enjoyed about the season.
A disappointed Hilder admitted the Knights fell short of the mark against the Penrith Panthers.
“We were beaten by a far better side and we didn’t turn it up the way we can play for some reason,” he said in the sheds after the game.
“That sort of eats at you a little bit."
Regardless of the loss, the captain has plenty of positives in his final season to reflect on and is excited to enter the next chapter of his life.
“I'll get my weekends back with the kids and my wife,” he said.
“I'll be away from footy for a year or so, but if I start to miss it, I'll get back involved.”
Meanwhile, Josh Mantellato departs the Club to take up a three-year contract with Hull KR in the English Super League.
The winger is pumped for the adventure and the exciting career opportunity, but says he’ll miss his Newcastle teammates the most.
“I’ll miss the mates I've made here in town, this year, out of the three years I've had at the Club have been the most enjoyable.
"All of my teammates have felt like brothers, I can take the mickey out of them and they do the same to you.
"The bond we've had together this year is the one thing I'll miss."
Playing in the grand final match was a particularly memorable moment for James Elias who has progressed through the Knights’ development system to the reserve grade team.
“I’ve worked my way up from SG Ball, to Harold Matts to under 20s and now Cup and it’s a very big jump from 20s to NSW Cup,” he said.
“It means a lot, my last grand final was with SG Ball Knights and we luckily got up that game.
“Unluckily, we weren’t the better side today, but we had a great year.”
Elias was disappointed to send off Hilder, Mantellato and Michael Dobson without the grand final title but is pleased to have made it so far in the competition.
“We got this far so it was a real reward for the boys effort this year,” he said.