Handshake contract and replacing Chief

It was a deal done at the back of a pub.

With half filled schooners on the table, a verbal commitment to join the Knights and a handshake sealed the move for Matt Parsons.

It was 1999, Parsons was playing for South Sydney and would be later named the Dally M prop of the year.

But the Rabbitohs were on the verge of being kicked out of the competition and the big man needed a Club.

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“If South’s got kicked out of the comp, I thought everyone’s rosters would be filled up,” Parsons told the Our Town Our Team podcast.

“Then I had an opportunity with Scott Campbell who was the trainer at Newcastle at the time. 

Having started his professional career in the St George lower grades, Parsons joined the Rabbitohs in 1997 where he made his NRL debut.

He was the tallest prop in the game at 200 centimetres.

The Knights needed some size.

Paul Harragon was retiring at the end of 1999 and the Club was seeking a replacement for their fearless leader.

Parsons was their man.

“He (Campbell) rang me up and said Warren (Ryan) wants you to come to Newcastle because Chief’s retiring,” Parsons added.

“I remember getting on a train and catching the train from Sydney on my own up to the Cricketers Arms Hotel and doing the deal with Warren Ryan and Dave Morley.

“Here we are sitting in the corner of the pub doing this deal.”

Throughout his eight-year career, Parsons never had a manager.

It was a different time.

Having won a premiership with the Knights in 2001, the big unit only wanted to wear the red and blue.

That’s why he put his faith in the Club to offer him what they could and he agreed, often without signing any paperwork.

“Never had one (manager),” Parsons said.

“Throughout my career I knew what I was worth.

“I had done handshake deals with Mark Sargent for the last three-years I was at Newcastle.

"We’d sign the contract whenever but that’ll do, that’s fine, we’ll keep going.”