Knights TV got an up-close tour of Maitland’s new No. 1 Sportsground on Thursday to coincide with the announcement that the nib Newcastle Knights will host a trial match against the Parramatta Eels in February.
Thanks to a partnership between the Knights, Eels and Maitland City Council, there’ll be a packed day of football which will see junior matches, Under 20s, Reserve Grade and NRL as the main event.
Knights CEO Philip Gardner told Knights TV Maitland is a great footy town which now has a first class facility.
“How good is it to get back to Maitland for a game of football and we’re going to play a traditional enemy in Parramatta,” he smiled.
“We will pack the ground out, and it’s such a good thing to bring first class football back to Maitland.”
With Maitland product Brock Lamb a perfect example, Gardner said the town has always been a great feeder for the Club and rugby league in general.
“Maitland has got a fantastic history of producing state players, Australia players and first grade players,” explained Gardner.
“It is a great nursery for very talented sportspeople and the Knights as a Club want to get more engaged with junior development areas and there is no better place than Maitland for that."
New recruit Aidan Guerra agrees it’s a state-of-the-art facility and can’t wait to test it out.
“As players, we are looking forward to coming here and playing our first trial together in front of a pretty good crowd,” Guerra said.
“The town wanted to have a place that is up to national standard and by looking around it definitely seems like they have achieved that.”
Guerra admits trial matches are significant for a newly formed team like the Knights.
“There are a lot of fresh faces, myself included, and there’s nothing quite like playing football together that gets you that step closer to where you need to be,” he stated.
“The trial matches are a good measure to see where we’re at and Parramatta were in the finals last year so it will be good to match up against them.”