The dream continues for NSW Cup Newcastle Knights captain Clint Newton who has extended his time in the red and blue after claiming the NSW Cup premiership last week.
The side now progressing to contest the State Championship in a highly anticipated on Sunday at ANZ Stadium.
Set to retire from football at the season’s end, Newton counts himself incredibly lucky to draw a close on his 15-year career with an emotional grand final win.
“It was fantastic, not just for me personally, but for the players and for all our families, and particularly the supporters who have had a really tough year,” Newton said.
“It’s once-in-a-life opportunities and money can’t buy experiences and I’m just so wrapped and proud of this group and so grateful I’ve had an opportunity to do that with this group of guys.”
But there’s no doubt the icing on the cake will be a victory against winner of the Queensland Cup, the Ipswich Jets at ANZ Stadium this weekend.
While the build-up to the grand final usually subsides after the game, the NSW Cup Knights must re-gather and lift for an even bigger encounter to be played as the curtain raiser match to the NRL grand final.
Yet, the experienced forward assures the side is physically and mentally prepared and eager for the test.
“Every week is a challenge, but this week is a different type of challenge getting back up.
“I think the one good thing that we’ve got is so much youth and enthusiasm.
“It’s probably similar to our opposition really that they are loving every minute of it and so they should.
“These opportunities don’t come around every year.
The Ipswich Jets have captured attention throughout the season for their unique style of football and like the Knights, will be hungry to assert themselves as national champions.
“I expect the unexpected with them from what I’ve heard,’ he said.
“I have a lot of respect for the Walker brothers (Jets coaches). They are doing something that no other coach is doing, not only are they joint coaching but they are also playing a different style, so full credit to them.
“We just need to focus on what we can do and our strengths and that’s defending well, working together and moving forward.
“The principles don’t change, you still have to win on the scoreboard and hopefully we do that on the weekend.”
As time counts down on the veteran's career, he’s begun to appreciate the smallest details of the game day experience and quality time with his teammates.
“I’m looking forward to the moments before we run out,” he said.
“You’re in that inner sanctum and you’re looking at each other and have a huge amount of trust and respect for each other in the huddle.
“(I love) the big smiles on the boys faces.
“Like I said last week, keep smiling boys because this is the time of your life.”
“You’ll get an opportunity to add to that this weekend hopefully.
“The moment when you run out on a big stage like this, very few people get an opportunity to do.
“These guys will get a chance to represent who they are, what they are about and their families on Sunday.
“I can’t wait to be a part of that on Sunday.”
Newton, who is a crowd favorite among the NSW Cup Knights' loyal following, has been overwhelmed with by the outstanding show of support at games throughout the season, and particularly the finals series and encourages all Knights fans to get behind the Knights on Sunday.
“I’d like to thank everyone for the support, and if you can make the trip down, get down and support us because I know these boys love it,” he said.
“They are a great group of young men and they are representing this town.”