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Long before Johnathan Thurston handed his premiership ring to Steve Price or Trent Robinson handed his to Lindsay Collins, there was an exchange at the Knights.

We all know the story of a young dreadlocked Thurston handing his ring to the injured Canterbury captain.

If Price had been fit to play, Thurston never would’ve got a start. It’s an incredible story but this is the original story of sacrifice.

The 1997 season is one Newcastle Knights fans will never forget but the name Leo Dynevor is often left out of the vernacular of the casual supporter.

It shouldn’t be.

Without him, the maiden premiership victory over Manly is unlikely.

While the image of Andrew Johns setting up Darren Albert to score the match winner is an image which will stand the test of time, the man who guided them to the big dance is often overlooked.

Dynevor was a crafty half who had joined the Knights from the London Broncos one a one-year-deal.

His first and only season with the Club was the best year of his short NRL career.

When Andrew Johns went down with an ankle injury in a trial game at the start of 97, Dynevor stepped into the role with great success.

“Leo Dynevor who had signed that year, an unknown half-back from up North came down and he was just incredible for us,” Marc Glanville said.

“He had an unbelievable season. I guess without Leo, we don’t make the grand final.”

That’s why when he was left off the team list for the grand final, Stephen Crowe made sure the No.7 knew how highly his contributions were appreciated.

He was a well-respected member of the team and in a quiet moment inside the SFS dressing sheds, Crowe pulled Dynevor aside and handed him his premiership ring.

“No one knew,” Dynevor told

“It wasn’t really publicised. It was a wonderful gesture. They only had so many rings on the day and he gave his to me.

“A lot of people told me if I wasn’t there, we wouldn’t have won that premiership.”

A proud indigenous man, Dynevor was a team player.

A crafty half with explosive footwork and a slick passing game, he watched the grand final from the sidelines.

He took it all in his strides. Never complained.

“Leo Dynevor was probably the unluckiest bloke on game day. He played 16 games that year, Joey had missed a bulk of the season with a busted ankle,” Crowe said. 

“There is no grand final without Leo Dynevor but the fact that he didn’t play, he didn’t get a ring, which I thought was pretty unfortunate considering how pivotal he was.”

Seven years before Thurston’s gesture to Price after the 2004 grand final, Crowe delivered the ultimate gesture.

“Steve knew the enormity of what I did and took it upon himself to do that gesture,” Dynevor said.

“I think it was the first time someone had done something like that.

“I was just happy to be part of it. It was remarkable when I think about it.”

Dynevor left the Knights in 1998 for the Western Suburbs where he spent two seasons but was unable to capture the scintillating form of 97.

This week as the Knights brace for another epic encounter with the Sea Eagles, a lot will be said about the 97 season but don’t forget the influence Dynevor, Knight 101, had on the team.