The Voice for Mining Round has special meaning for the people of the Hunter.
For nib Newcastle Knights legend Bill Peden, he’s had a connection with mining and rugby league his whole life.
Peden grew up in the coal-mining town of Cessnock.
While he was playing for the Goannas, most of his teammates juggled football and working in the mines.
In those days, it was the norm.
“There are so many parallels there with the mining industry, with the blue-collar workforce and rugby league,” Peden told the Our Town Our Team Podcast.
“I know when I grew up there were so many blokes that played rugby league that worked in pits, it was just the thing you did. They worked in pits and they played footy.”
Both rugby league and minoring share many similarities.
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Especially when it comes to teamwork.
That’s why Peden idolised the blue-collar footballer.
“There were so many tough uncompromising men that I looked up to that were coal miners and were footy players and just generally blokes that you looked up to,” Peden said.
“The parallels within mining and teamwork and what there is playing footy and playing for the Knights. The parallels are there.”
When Peden first joined the Knights, the days of the blue-collar footballer were coming to an end.
There was more money in the sport and players were training fulltime.
Peden never had to juggle professional rugby league and work, that’s why he has an appreciation for the players who did before him.
“When I first started doing it, I used to think ‘I don’t know how those blokes did it’,” Peden said.
“I never had to go through the shift work and trying to play national rugby league. I am in so much awe of the blokes who did it.”
Since retiring from Rugby League, Peden has gone back to his roots.
After finishing his career in London back in 2010, Peden returned to Newcastle and has been involved with NSW Mining ever since.
THE KNIGHTS PLAY MANLY AT MCDONALD JONES STADIUM IN VOICE FOR MINING ROUND. MAKE SURE YOU WEAR YOUR HI-VIS TO THE GAME THIS WEEKEND.