Knights give Back to the Juniors
Adorned on the walls of the Valentine-Eleebana Devils Junior Rugby League Club is a long list of NRL greats.
One of the most successful organisations in the Newcastle junior competitions, the Devils have a rich history in producing some of the biggest names in the sport.
“It is a club that has a very proud history, some Knights greats in Clint Newton, Anthony Quinn and the likes have played down here,” said Knights winger Nathan Ross.
Along with Paul ‘Chief’ Harragon, Brett Kimmorley, Willie Mason and Mick Ennis, Sam Stone is the latest Knights product to come from the Devils.
The 19-year-old came back to where it all began on Tuesday evening as part of the Back to the Juniors program.
“My old coach is here and this is the club that I played with since I was nine, so it's really good to come back and see the old faces,” Stone told Knights TV.
“Traditionally this club is a pretty good club... there’s some really good talent here and it is a good breeding ground not just for the Knights but for everyone.”
Knights players gave back to ten different junior rugby league clubs across the region on Tuesday evening, teaching tips and tricks to the next generation of players.
“It is great for us to come back and see the grassroots of Newcastle rugby league,” explained Stone.
“I think traditionally Newcastle is a pretty strong rugby league town and the town lives and breathes it.”
Secretary of the Valentine-Eleebana Devils Annette Busch says it was a big benefit for the Club's kids to welcome Knights players to their home ground.
“It is awesome to see them come down and the kids will benefit from it a great deal,” said Busch.
“We try to nurture them as much as we can and it is good to see Sam (Stone) come back and get involved.”
Ross agreed that the Back to the Juniors program is a great initiative.
“Nights like this allows us to be more relatable to the guys coming through and it gives them a chance to see what it takes to make that step to the next level,” Ross explained.
“A few of them were showing me how to score, so my spot might be up for grabs in a couple of years with how well they’re training,” laughed Ross.