Hunter TAFE has inducted the first batch of Newcastle Knights into the Knights Junior Hall of Fame this week acknowledging the success of players both in the classroom and on the field.
The junior Knights Hall of Fame recognises players who have achieved state and national selection plus Student of the Year and NYC Team of the Year selection.
Brock Lamb, Jack Cogger and Mathew Croker were the NYC inductees joining recent NYC graduates Sione Mata’utia, Danny Levi and Jake Mamo.
The joint initiative between the Knights and Hunter TAFE allows the Club’s NYC players to study and train at the Tighes Hill Hunter TAFE campus, which is also home to the team’s training field and gym facilities.
The support and opportunity offered by Hunter TAFE to the young players is appreciated by up-and-coming talent Brock Lamb.
After earning representative honours with the Under 18s NSW Blues and taking part in the Australian Schoolboys tour earlier this year, Lamb has begun fulltime pre-season training with the NRL squad and was proud of his latest accolade.
“It’s a massive honour and I’m happy to be a part of it,” Lamb said about his name being added to the TAFE Junior Hall of Fame board.
“What the TAFE has going on here is a great initiative where we can use all the facilities, like the gym and the field. It’s really helped me.
“It helps progress footy as well as life outside of footy with education.”
“I’m looking forward to the challenges in my education and moving forward I’ll get my Certificate IV in Fitness and hopefully stay in the top side and get some more sessions under my belt and play some NSW Cup."
The Knights place high emphasis on producing quality players who also have plenty of prospects and a strong education to assist them after their football career.
The Knights’ Player list manager, Troy Pezet says the partnership between Hunter TAFE and the Club enables players to excel academically. He praised the organisation for rewarding its high achievers through the Hall of Fame.
"We are extremely grateful TAFE has recognised our players who have represented NSW and Australia since the partnership began in 2014,” Pezet said.
"From Sione Matautia and Jake Mamo down to Brock Gardner and Matt Smith who represented NSW 15s this year, we are extremely grateful to have a one stop facility for the young players to fulfil their football, physical and educational needs."
Jack Cogger is another young player to benefit from the strong relationship between the Club and Hunter TAFE and was pleased to also make progress with his education while representing his state and country.
“It’s always good to be recognised in anything,” Cogger said.
“It’s a fantastic initiative here where we can train and get an education in the one place.
“We started here last year and the facilities like the gym have just gotten better and the field is there."
While 18-year old Cogger experienced plenty of success on the field in 2015, he required additional support to keep up to speed with his studies.
“TAFE last year was really good for me, I missed a lot of the start of year 12 due to footy commitments so they helped me with tutors before training here at the TAFE,” he said.
“I was able to come here early and see a tutor before training.
“It worked out really well and made it easier on me.”
This pre-season, Cogger began fulltime training with the NRL squad and has already set new goals for football and his education.
“I want to play some consistent footy and off field, I hope to get into uni and study part-time," he added.
The Hall of Fame is located in the Knights Study Hub and adjacent to the oval, gym, massage facilities and stretching room all provided by the Hunter TAFE for the NYC team.