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Mat Croker inks new two-year deal

The nib Newcastle Knights are delighted to confirm the retention of homegrown forward, Mathew Croker, on a new two-year deal. 

The Taree Panthers junior has come through the Knights pathways system and continually shown traits of hard-work, resilience, and a team-first mentality.

The new contract is a deserving reward for the highly-regarded 22-year-old who has played four Knights NRL games since his debut last season.

Fellow Taree product and Newcastle Knights General Manager of Football, Danny Buderus, said he was elated for the young forward.

"Crokes is a role model for what we are trying to create here at the Club and he has earnt this on the back of perseverance and hard work," Buderus said.

"This is the good part of my role seeing players come through the grades and learning lessons to be consistent, then getting rewarded for all their commitment and sacrifices.

"He’s a popular member of the squad based on his work ethic and team-first actions and we are excited to see Mat display these qualities for the next 2 years."

Croker: 'It was a no-brainer for me'

Born in Nabiac, the versatile forward was identified by the Knights at an early age and made his way through the pathways ranks.

A decorated junior in the red and blue, ‘Crokes’ picked up the Bryan Carlson Award in 2017 while playing for the SG Ball side.

The forward has also picked up NSW Cup Players’ Player and SG Ball and Harold Matthews Player of the Year awards during his time at the Knights.

The Australian Schoolboys representative has also played for and captained NSW at Under 16’s and Under 20’s State of Origin level.

After earning a development deal in 2020, Croker was without a contract at the start of 2021, although continued playing for the NSW Cup squad as captain.

A testament of tenacity and spirit, the 22-year-old put in the hard work to eventually earn a shot in the NRL making his debut on Old Boys Day in the same year.

Croker has played two first-grade games to start the 2022 season and earnt his first win in the Round 2 victory over the Wests Tigers, until a broken jaw sidelined him playing in the NSW Cup. 

The deal will tie Croker to the Club until at least the end of the 2024 season.