After finishing the 2015 season in the NRL, Clint Newton considers himself fortunate to return to the NSW Cup Newcastle Knights in the second week of the final, a team he captained for much of this year's campaign.
Since announcing in July he would retire at the season’s end, Newton has focused on cherishing every last moment as his 15-year career draws to close.
So the chance to stretch out his time in the red and blue is an opportunity embraced by the passionate Clubman.
“It’s the season that just keeps going and hopefully for a few more weeks yet,” Newton said at a NSW Cup training session.
“I was really grateful to finish the year in first grade, but to come back and play with this side, a side I captained through the year, I have a great opportunity to give something back, one last time for the Club."
Newton can provide valuable insight into Sunday’s opposition, the Penrith Panthers, after a stint playing with the Club in 2012 and 2013.
“They are a good footy side and have arguably been one of the most consistent sides for the last couple of years in the NSW Cup competition,” he said.
“They get a couple of players back this week as we do as well.
“It’s going to be a real tough battle and I’d expect nothing less.
“We just have to worry about what we can do and hopefully we can get the result.”
While it’s been an emotional few weeks for Newton, who comes to terms with his retirement as a professional athlete, his return to the NSW Cup Knights has injected fresh enthusiasm and energy into the veteran forward.
“I’m probably 10 years their senior on average, but they’ll soon snap me out of it with their enthusiasm… so I look forward to that,” he said.
“I think it’s great.”
Newton has kept a close eye on the team while racking up 10 games in first grade and praised the side’s victory against the Manly Sea Eagles last Saturday.
“Watching the footy, they looked really well and are playing some great football,” he said.
“I think the mood is really positive and that’s one of the advantages of having a youthful team, they are actually full of tomorrows and they are prepared to put everything on the line and hopefully that’s the case this week.”