The Newcastle Knights NYC team trained for the first time on their new facility at Hunter TAFE’s McDougal Oval on Tuesday.
Located at Hunter TAFE’s Newcastle Campus, the opening of the oval comes after months of refurbishing to meet NRL quality standards.
As part of the Knights and Hunter TAFE partnership, the oval is an extension of Hunter TAFE’s High Performance Sports Hub, established for National Youth Cup players to meet their study and training needs.
Hunter TAFE CEO, Phil Cox said it will be great to have the boys training on campus.
"For a year now players have enjoyed the benefits of the Hub, which involves a specialist education centre, study hub and lecture theatre. Now they have the bonus of a training oval,” he said.
“This is a first of its kind nationally between an NRL club and TAFE institute, so we are really excited to welcome the boys to their new home."
Since July 2013, Hunter TAFE has been designing customised programs to meet the needs of the professional athlete’s on-field demands while providing skills to advance off-field career opportunities.
Knights CEO, Matt Gidley said the Hunter TAFE High Performance Sports Hub was also a critical element to the Knights commitment to supporting the NRL’s “Game Plan” strategy that aims to engage 84 per cent of players in education or career training by 2017.
“The NRL implementation of “no work, no study, no play” is a fantastic initiative, which encourages the players to consider career development and options,” Gidley said.
“For the Knights, our starting point is to provide the players with avenues such as Hunter TAFE, where they can develop a broad base of skills, embark on career transition programs and actively participate in the community.”
Players have enjoyed studying programs such as Media Skills, Fitness, Business and Governance in Sport.