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'I was told I was never going to make it'

As a child, Clint Newton was doubted.

Told by some to ditch his dreams of playing for the Newcastle Knights.

According to a number of individuals, he wasn’t talented enough to make it.

He'd been told this since the age of 13.

“Parents can be quite cruel at times in junior sport, my parents were always fantastic but there were a number of other parents that would say to me when you’re getting your red frogs and can of Coke at the canteen, ‘I don’t reckon this is for you. Why don’t you go play golf like your old man?’,” Newton said.   

“But I loved it. I was fiercely passionate about playing rugby league. I wasn’t going to let anyone tell me I could or couldn’t make it.”



Like his father and famous golfer Jack Newton, Clint was an athlete but that’s where the links ended.

Jack had a successful pro career but Clint was rugby league mad.

In fact, his family was. 

They have been members since the first game in 1988 and still hold the same seats.

Clint was going to be a Knight regardless of what the naysayers thought.

“I just made the Summer squad but I was told by different individuals at the club at the time that I was never going to make it and I was just there to use it as a learning experience,” Newton told the Our Town Our Team podcast.

“Back then I wasn’t the player they were looking for.”

Being doubted is something that followed the backrower throughout his career.

Injuries also tagged along.

While he made his NRL debut for the Knights in 2001, he was unable to secure a place on the bench for their premiership win over Parramatta.

He’s played seven games for the Club in his rookie year and believes he would’ve been there on grand final day too if it was not for injury.

“Hages (Michael Hagan) brought be back into first grade and this was about a week or two before the semi’s and basically said this is the side I’m going to run with in the finals and you’re in it,” Newton said.

“I played against the Tigers and we were playing at Campbelltown, I’d just come off the bench and went to take a hit-up.

“BK (Ben Kennedy) still reminds me of it today where I sort of pushed him out of the way and I wanted to take a run.

“I turned my left should in a felt a massive crunch in my shoulder and I thought id dislocated it.

“I couldn’t pick my arm up and the trainer came out and said ‘I think you’ve done your rotator cuff’.”

Having got on top of his body, a lengthy suspension for an illegal tackle saw him sidelined for a lengthy stint.

The extended break essentially meant he endured two pre-seasons and was eager to show what he was capable of.

Then the doubts in Newton reared their ugly head again.

This time it was former coach Brian Smith who questioned his ability.

“There had been some issues there with Brian throughout the pre-season,” Newton added.

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“It got to the point where there wasn’t a level of trust you want from your coach.

“He was going in a different direction which I didn’t like.”

A fallout with Smith led to Newton’s exit.

He played his 100 game for the Club and was out the door less than 48 hours later.

He didn’t even have a deal.

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There was interest from the Super League but that wasn’t an avenue he was keen on exploring.

Then, while at the pub with Andrew Johns and Danny Buderus, the career lifeline he needed came calling.

“My phone rings and its Craig Bellamy and he asks whether I want to go to Melbourne,” Newton said.

“36-hours later, I’m on 6:55 flight to Melbourne.”

He joined the Storm on little more than a chance to finish the season and a wage that would cover his living expenses.

A few months later he was a premiership winner.

The move to the Storm not only proved to himself that he had plenty more to offer but was confirmation he was a winner.

In keeping with the theme of his career, he’d proved another doubter wrong.