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Knights indigenous links run deep

Some of the game’s greatest indigenous talents have come through the Newcastle system.

In the earlier years the Knights had the likes of Jason Edwards, Brad Godden and Owen Craigie.

Leo Dynevor played a major role in the success of the 1997 season, while the likes of Lenny Becket and Timana Tahu also started their NRL careers in the red and blue.

Brad Tighe, Milton Thaiday, Luke Walsh, Tyrone Roberts, Cory Paterson were all Knights, while the likes of Connor Watson, Edrick Lee and Jess Ramien continue the legacy.

Before all those men, the Knights had Ashley ‘Flash’ Gordon.

Behind the jersey: Ash 'The Flash' Gordon

Gordon had an illustrious career with the Knights, playing 71 games between 1989-1995, where he held countless records for try scoring and goal kicking.

He was also awarded the Dally M Winger of the Year in 1990; the first Knight to ever receive the prestigious award.

The men behind our indigenous jersey

“In the early years it was myself and Jason Edwards, a local boy but also coming in you had Jason Moodie and Owen Craigie, both fantastic player,” Gordon said.

“Owen obviously winning a grand final while still at high school.

“We’ve got a lot of history and I hope that continues with players we’ve brought to the club such as Connor Watson.

“Hopefully we can bring a number of good quality players through our system. Not just aboriginal but other cultures because rugby league brings cultures together.

“It teaches us about one’s identity and the more we have, the more we have, the more we’ll grow as people and the better we’ll become as footballers and role models.”

On the field, 12 per cent of NRL players are Indigenous, it’s proof the ties run deep.

“The game’s come a long way,” Gordon said.

“To me, the significance is enormous.

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“it acknowledges how important rugby league is to aboriginal people and communities all around Australia.

“It’s so popular and its so well played, acknowledging the importance of the game and previous aboriginal people who have played our game – particularly Arthur Beetson – who we all looked up to.

“It gives me a real satisfaction that the game is heading in the right direction when it does that.”