As they sit in the stands, donned in their red and blue and passionately cheer on the Newcastle Knights, many young Knights supporters dream of the chance to one day be out on the field passing a football with their sporting heroes.
For Newcastle Knights Junior Members who attended Wednesday’s special event, that very dream came true when they were treated to an exclusive meet-and-greet session and football skills clinic under the big lights at Hunter Stadium.
The fun-filled event was attended by 160 children and hosted by the Club as a special reward for their commitment and support as Members.
The young fans joined the Knights down on the field, passed the footy and learned tackle technique under the guidance of the NRL stars.
As much as the event is a highlight of the young supporters’ season, the players expressed their enjoyment to have the opportunity to interact one-on-one with the Club’s next generation of avid fans.
“It’s a nice night here at Hunter Stadium, there’s a good bunch of kids that have turned up here to participate in the drills,” Knights forward Beau Scott told Knights TV.
“We see faces in the crowd after the game and there are familiar faces that have turned up here today.
“I think it’s just a thrill for them to be able to interact with their favourite players.”
Tyler Randall also conveyed his appreciation for the enthusiastic support shown by the young Members.
“It’s great and obviously these kids put a lot of effort into coming to our games,” Randall said.
“They get to sit in the stands every home game, so for them to come out here and do some drills with us on the field, it’s a real buzz for them."
In fact there were plenty of true footy buffs among the group.
“It’s surprising to know how many young kids know who you are because they come to so many games, so it’s good to do some drills with them,” Randell added.
For any aspiring young player, a kicking lesson from halfback Tyrone Roberts is the ultimate experience.
“We are teaching them how to drop kick and what position to put your hands so it goes in the right direction,” Roberts explained.
“The older kids are going alright and some of the young kids have a fair idea how to do it.
“It’s been nice and it’s what we need. We always want to give back to the community.
“It’s good to see the younger generation coming through and showing their support for NRL.”
Sione Mata’utia and Adam Clydsdale were entrusted with handing on strong passing skills to the youngsters.
“It’s been awesome and is good to be out here and having fun with the kids,” Mata’utia said.
“It’s surprising to see so many Junior Members here and we love getting involved with them and should use them as our future loyal fans."
Mata’utia has special insight into the significance of the unique experience for the junior fans as he remembers attending similar Knights’ skills clinics when he was a developing player.
“Back in the day it was Kurt Gidley, Jarrod Mullen and the usual seniors,” he added.
“It’s pretty good to see I’m now playing with them. Looking at these kids, that was me a couple of years ago.”
The Knights would like to thank all of the 2015 Junior Members for their continued support.