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‘Felt like I had two javelins shoved in both my knees’

Clint Newton knew it was time to retire around the time of his birthday.

It was just a regular day at training.

Back in Newcastle, he knew his career was winding down but that moment you often hear about when a player knows it's time hadn't hit him yet.

It was about to.

It was 2015, mid-season and the backrower was making his way onto the field.

"The moment I told myself mentally 'this is just not for you' was when I jogged out for training and literally it felt like I had two javelins shoved in both my knees," Newton recalled.

"I just thought this is not where I need to be anymore and I've got such a great future to look forward to.

"It was a really easy decision and one I'm really grateful I got to make on my time.

"That's why I went off into retirement really happy."

Having made his NRL debut for the Knights in 2001, Newton spent seven seasons with the Club before moving to Melbourne in 2007.



He won a title with the Storm before heading to England to link with Hull KR.

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After four years in the Super League, he returned to Australia with Penrith but a move back to the hunter in 2014 ensured his career came full circle.

"I retired pretty much right around my birthday (in June)," he said.

"I thought I'd got to the point where training had got really quite difficult.

"My body, I'd got absolutely everything out of it.

"I've always been told do the best you can with the tools you've got and I reckon I milked my body for everything I could.

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"It was starting to get more challenging to turn up for training and I'm a big believe in if you don't train, you shouldn't play because you're going to let your teammates down at some point.

"I came to this feeling of gratitude for everything had and came to this feeling of grace off the back of that. It was time to let go and done enough having played 15 years in the NRL and Super League.

"It wasn't a sad moment."

In returning to the Knights from Penrith in 2014, a large part of his move was to mentor the youngsters on the cusp of first grade.

It was important to Newton that he pay it forward like Paul Marquet, Justin Holbrook and Troy Fletcher had done to him early in his career.

"Part of the other reason why I made my decision was because I came back to the Knights to do a job," Newton explained.

"My job was to help and give back. Things that other past players had done for me when I was a young player.

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"To be part of the State Cup team and be captain of that team and go on and win the grand final and take a team with the average age of 19 or 20 and I was 34 at that time, it was something special.

"It was one of those opportunities to say, yep this is how I wanted to finish.

"People often get confused about finishing on top. They believe that means winning a grand final and playing for Australia in your last ever game, whatever. Finishing on top, for me, was about what impact have I had on my teammates and the younger generation and that was a great opportunity."