In what is a major coup for the budding Newcastle club, the Knights have made it official that master-coach Wayne Bennett will be their new head coach in 2012, and will remain so, after signing a 4-year deal with the club.
His job will officially commence on the 1st of November, the appointment of the master-coach is fantastic news for the club and the Newcastle area, which is a key part of the NRL’s success in NSW.
Ken Edwards, the Chairman of the Tinker Sports Group believes that the news of Bennett’s arrival is monumental news for both the fans, and the Newcastle club.
“We are building something really special for the entire community and are thrilled to know that Wayne Bennett will be part of it,” Edwards said.
“Wayne’s appointment confirms exactly what Nathan has been saying, that the Hunter region has developed dramatically and now the best do not have to go to Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane to prosper, they can now stay or join us in the Hunter.
“This is a major step for the region as we continue to build community pride and above all, further expand the club’s existing policy to provide a pathway for all juniors to have the opportunity to play for the Knights.
“What excites everyone at the club is Wayne’s commitment to work closely with the Newcastle Rugby League, to ensure that a professional structure is in place for young player development and a full programme for local coaches.
“This is a genuine revolution for everyone involved in rugby league from Newcastle up to the Queensland boarder,” Edwards concluded.
Despite the announcement of Wayne Bennett as the new head coach being made however, TSG still have support for Rick Stone this season, as TSG CEO, Troy Palmer praises the work that Stone has done so far, and for the club over the years.
“It is business as usual and Rick and his team will be given everything needed to achieve the very best possible outcome for the Knights this season,” Palmer said.
“Rick has done and is doing an outstanding job with the NRL team and has developed a strong culture throughout the club.
“Wayne will sit down with Rick in the near future to discuss an on-going relationship,” he concluded.
For Bennett himself, he called the Bunnies to say that he had taken the Knights offer, as he was pleased with the direction in which they were heading in.
“I sat down with Nathan (Tinkler) and was struck by his passion and knowledge of rugby league,” said Bennett in a statement issued by the Tinkler Sports Group.
“Private ownership appeals to me. I like it. This guy wants to take Newcastle to another level.
“He wants our game to capture the imagination of the Hunter like never before – for the Knights to be the benchmark of rugby league in this country.
“That is the type of challenge that appeals to me.
“The Knights have already won two premierships and have been a great club despite struggling with their finances. And that’s where Nathan Tinkler comes in.”