Former Knights official Warren Smiles has denied suggestions by Greg Inglis that he was snubbed by the club when he was a teenager attending Hunter Sports High back in 2003 before he became a superstar at the Melbourne Storm.
The now retired Inglis has opened a can of worms by declaring he wanted to play for the Knights and not Melbourne 17 years ago while attending school in Newcastle as a 16-year-old and playing for the Wests Rosellas alongside the likes of Luke Walsh and Jarrod Mullen.
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At the time, Inglis had already been snapped up on a $500 scholarship contract by the Storm but admitted he had his "fingers crossed" he would be offered a Knights deal so that he could be closer to his family in his home town of Kempsey.
"I signed with Melbourne when I was 14, got my manager at 15, then 16 came (in 2003) and I was like 'actually I don't want to go to Melbourne," Inglis told The Take with Willie Mason podcast.
"I wanted to be close to my family. Family was very important to me - like anyone's family. Newcastle was only three hours down the road from my home town.
"I kept saying (to his manager) 'how about Newcastle?' My manager at the time ... kept inquiring but he said they can't do anything. By the end of that year, no one had approached me about staying at Newcastle."
Inglis still seems perplexed that he was snubbed by the Knights despite being right under their noses, playing for the Rosellas and attending Hunter Sports High.
"I played for them (Rosellas) for the whole year with Lukey Walsh and Jarrod Mullen and they were signed to Newcastle at the time," Inglis said. "They were playing seven and six at the time and I was playing No.1.
"I was like, 'let's just go with this and I'll just try and get with Newcastle' and nothing came back."
But Smiles, who was in charge of the Knights junior system at the time, poured cold water on the claims, saying there was never any approach from Inglis' manager to him, most likely because it was common knowledge Inglis was already signed by the Storm.
"We were obviously aware of his ability - everyone was - but there was never any contact between me and his manager," Smiles told the Newcastle Herald.
"The biggest reason for that from our end was he was already obligated to another club. He was under scholarship to Melbourne which is the same as a contract, before he even came to Newcastle to go to school.
"While they may not exist any more in this day and age, there was a gentlemen's agreement back then between clubs that those types of agreements were binding and respected.
"Obviously, we would have loved to have signed Inglis, probably along with a host of other clubs at the time, but couldn't because the Storm already had him."
The fact Inglis never played for the Knights ended up having wider ramifications for NSW in State of Origin.
After linking with Melbourne, Inglis was sent by the Storm to Brisbane's Wavell State High to finish his schooling. It was there that he embraced the Queensland way.
So, when it finally came to choosing his State of Origin allegiance a few years later, Inglis chose the Maroons over the Blues despite his Kempsey roots. History shows Inglis enjoyed a stellar career at both the Storm and for Queensland.
After earning superstar status in a dominant Melbourne stint from 2005-2010, he then helped inspire South Sydney's drought-breaking premiership victory in 2014.
Inglis was also a key to Queensland's stunning run of 11 Origin series wins in 12 years, including eight straight.
Remarkably, it's the first time Inglis has ever publicly spoken of his desire to play for the Knights.
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