There'll be some long-suffering Newcastle Knights fans who might argue the point but it only seems like yesterday this highly talented bunch of players gave the club it's second premiership win in the space of four years.
It was in fact two decades ago in 2001 when the Knights were an on-field juggernaut, having also won in 1997 before butchering another they should have won in 2000.
It's tough to comprehend 20 years have passed and the club hasn't really looked like winning a title since.
If the drought has done anything though, it has made fans celebrate even more the rare times the club has conquered the mountain and put on a pedestal those players and officials responsible for providing the city with so much joy.
In three weeks, it will be celebration time again.
In a one-off, the Knights have shifted Old Boys' Day from the traditional final home game of the season to Sunday, June 6 in a salute to the 2001 premiership-winning side coach by Michael Hagan and captained by Andrew Johns that triumphed over Parramatta. Significantly, the Knights take on the Eels that day at home.
As part of a huge 20th anniversary weekend, the 2001 squad and support staff will lunch together at the Newcastle Club two days earlier before being the guests of honour at a gala dinner open to the public on Saturday, June 5 at NEX Club put on by the Once a Knight Old Boys and the Knights.
Former NBN sporting identities Mike Rabbitt and Jim Callinan will turn back the clock to co-host the dinner with the entire 28-man 2001 squad and staff set to attend and we are hearing Screaming Jets frontman Dave Gleeson and his band will be a big part of the entertainment. Dual Knights premiership winner, Mark Hughes' brain cancer Foundation will be heavily supported on the night.
Tickets are $220 or $2000 per table of 10 and can be booked online at stickytickets.com.au
"It's going to be a massive weekend and a great night with all the boys from the 2001 squad back together for the first time so we're hoping to get a big roll up of supporters to come along," Hughes told us.
Incoming Knights playmaking recruit Jake Clifford's eye-catching performance for the Cowboys in their win over the Brisbane Broncos last weekend was a double-edged sword for the Knights.
While it silenced those who have been questioning the club's wisdom in signing him for next season, it won't help convince the Cowboys to release him early this year.
Scone Cup day wasn't the only cause for celebration in the horse capital yesterday with plenty of Scone Thoroughbreds no doubt glued to the television last night to see local junior Jock Madden make his NRL debut for the Tigers against the Knights in Brisbane.
Madden comes from great sporting stock. His grandfather, Brian Adams is the brother of legendary former Kangaroos winger Don 'Bandy' Adams. Bandy's son David played for Manly and Balmain in the late '70's and his grandson Adam Clydsdale was a Newcastle Knights and Canberra Raiders hooker. Another of Brian Adam's grandsons, Nic White, is the current Wallabies halfback.
The Madden name is also highly prominent in the Scone club's history.
Gehamat Shibasaki may be under contract next season but there is no guarantee he will be at the Knights.
After a couple of poor performances in the top grade this season, Shibasaki has dropped down the pecking order with backrower Brodie Jones now in front of him as a back-up centre. Clearly, the Knights would not stand in his way if he was able to secure a longer deal elsewhere.
Meanwhile, the search for a new centre continues after Kotoni Staggs opted to stay at the Broncos although the club has high hopes for big, athletic teenage Manly recruit Krystian Mapapalangi, who started training with the fulltime squad this week.
Kalyn Ponga is the new leader in our Knights' player of the year standings after round 9 following his highly influential performance in the win over Canberra last weekend. Ponga polled maximum points to leap-frog Daniel Saifiti, who led the way over the opening 8 rounds.
Rd 9 points: 3 Kalyn Ponga 2 Jayden Brailey 1 Mitch Barnett.
We'll publish last night's Rd. 10 points next week.
Current leader board:10- Kalyn Ponga 9- Jayden Brailey 8- Daniel Saifiti 5- Tyson Frizell, Bradman Best 4- Connor Watson, Mitch Barnett, Brodie Jones 3- Kurt Mann 1- David Klemmer, Jesse Sue.
New golf facility
It's been a decade in the planning but Charlestown Golf Club has announced it will build a new state-of-the-art commercial training facility adjacent to their 18-hole championship course to be open by the end of this year.
The facility will include a new 35-bay driving range with a 24-bay public teeing area and a 10-bay members-only section as well as a purpose-built training and coaching area. The club says the range will cater to not only the golfing community, but also for corporate events and private functions.
The club is hoping it opens up opportunities to host premier golf events.
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