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After making his debut with the Newcastle Knights as an 18-year-old, 15 years later, Timana Tahu played his final game with the Club in the NSW Cup grand final on Sunday.

It was no fairytale finish for the 33-year-old with the Knights going down to the Panthers 42-12, with Tahu conceding the opposition was simply the better team on the day.

“Things didn’t go to plan,” he said after the game.

“We did play well all year and strung a few games together. 

“It was good to be in the grand final, it’s just on the day, Penrith were better.

“They played well and their forwards were really good.

“We just couldn’t seem to get a roll on. 

“Penrith played straight and they played strong. 

“It’s just one of those days when things didn’t trim together, but there’s always next year for the boys."

The loss of players in key positions was one of the major challenges of the game.

“I think losing (Michael) Dobo was a big hole in our team, I think people can see how much you can appreciate a half back like him…he’s a major asset for us,” Tahu said.

The Central Charlestown junior’s maiden match was in 1999. 

During his successful career he’s played 196 first grade games and broke the record for the most tries for the Newcastle Knights with 82 tries in 97 games, only recently over taken by Akuila Uate.

Reflecting on his time in rugby league, he credits the NSW Cup Knights as one of the most united side he’s been a part of.

“What’s been so good about our team this year, and why we’ve been so successful, is because of the closeness of the team and the unity of the team,” he said. 

“From old and experienced to the young, everyone is close in this team.

“That’s what I’m going to remember.

“I think the team’s going to be better next year."