The talent and toughness of Tony Butterfield was acknowledged at the Newcastle Knights 2014 Awards Night with the foundation player inducted into the Club’s Hall of Fame.
Butterfield was inducted alongside Mark Sargent and Danny Buderus who join the likes of Matt Gidley, Michael Hagan, Paul Harragon, Andrew Johns and the late Allan McMahon in the Knights Hall of Fame.
‘‘This Club means an enormous amount to me,’’ Butterfield said on stage at the Awards Night on Thursday.
‘‘To be up here tonight and to be recognised in this way is an extraordinary honour and one I cherish deeply.’
‘‘The happiest moment of my footy career was probably the grand final and it was because we had finally achieved the respect that this community deserved."
Originally from Penrith, Tony Butterfield arrived in Newcastle for the Knights’ first crusade in 1988 and quickly felt at home in his new town and with his new team.
Foundation coach Allan McMahon wanted players with the ‘‘Three Ts’’ – they had to be tough, had to be able to tackle, and had to have plenty of tomorrows. ‘‘Butts’’ ticked all three boxes.
Establishing himself as one of the ‘‘Bruise Brothers’’, Butterfield ensured rival forwards visiting Newcastle might have taken two points with them in the club’s formative early years but they also went home black and blue.
Overcoming a series of injuries early in his career, the flint-hard front-rower went on to partner prop Paul Harragon in the team’s famous ARL grand final victory over Manly in 1997, and represented NSW and City Origin while wearing blue and red.
A two-time Player of the Year (1988, 1996) and Players’ Player of the Year (1996, 1997), and member of the club’s 20-Year Team named in 1997, he captained the Knights in his final two seasons and went within a game of leading them to the 2000 grand final.
Butterfield was 34 when he played his 229th and final game for the Knights, setting a mark as their most capped player until Andrew Johns broke his record some six years later.
Newcastle Knights Hall of Fame
At the beginning of 2012, the Newcastle Knights launched the Club’s Hall of Fame as the cornerstone of their 25th year celebrations.
The key objectives of the Hall of Fame were to acknowledge the Club’s former greats and their contribution to the Club both on and off the field in a region so rich in rugby league culture.
To be eligible for nomination, players and coaches must be retired. The Hall of Fame selection committee can nominate up to two inductees each year and that panel comprises:
Former Knights Chairman, Michael Hill
Former TV and radio commentator, Leigh Maughan
Foundation Knights coaching director, Allan Bell
Newcastle Herald Rugby League reporter, Brett Keeble and
NBN television sports presenter and commentator Mike Rabbitt.