Newcastle Bid Farewell To Champion


Sentimental favourite, Matthew Gidley will say goodbye to his Newcastle supporters this weekend when the Knights host the Panthers at EnergyAustralia Stadium.

After a decade of loyal service, Gidley's 219th appearance in the Blue and Red will be his final regular club game before he departs for enagage Super League club, St Helens.

"It's going to be an emotional day for me. I've been at the Knights since I was a junior and the club has been such a big part of my life for so long." Gidley said.

Meanwhile, the Knights continue their hunt for a home semi final following last week's victory against the Cowboys.

Coach Michael Hagan announced an unchanged 18 man squad today, with Jarrod Mullen retaining the half back spot after leading the Knights to victory at Dairy Farmers Stadium.

"The team played well against the Cowboys but we need a back up performance to silence our critics," said Hagan.

"Our forwards were exceptional last weekend, especially Josh Perry, Danny Buderus and Steve Simpson, and I expect them to stand up again on Saturday and lead from the front."

The final home game of the year traditionally attracts a bumper crowd to EnergyAustralia Stadium and with a home semi final up for grabs; Novocastrians are expected to turn out in force.

"We're in the Top Eight and stand a very good chance of making the Top Four," Knights CEO Ken Conway said.

"Finals football is all about teams who believe they can win, and with a Newcastle crowd behind them the Knights are capable of almost anything."

"We can't urge people enough to get in and buy tickets early because we are expecting a big crowd to farewell the likes of Matt Gidley."

The last home game of the season also coincides with the Knights Old Boys annual reunion day when past players parade in a lap of honour of the ground.

Special presentations will also be made to Anthony Quinn who reached his 100 game milestone last weekend and Craig Smith who recently played his 150th NRL match.