NEWCASTLE Knights fans must be a sentimental, nostalgic bunch.
That's the only conclusion Sporting Declaration can draw after two home games, seven days apart, at McDonald Jones Stadium.
A fortnight ago, a crowd of 17,348 cheered the Knights to an upset 18-10 win against in-form Manly.
A week later, 23,015 turned out at the same venue to witness Newcastle cop a 40-4 pizzling from Parramatta.
That's a 5667 increase in bums on seats (a 32 per cent improvement) from one Sunday 4.05pm fixture to the next. The crowd for Parramatta's visit was Newcastle's largest this season, 3000 more than their average attendance (20,163) across eight home games.
Indeed, it was their biggest home crowd in almost two years, since 24,397 were on hand to witness Newcastle's 24-20 win against Brisbane in round 15, 2019.
So what prompted this extra traffic to flow through turnstiles that have, for 34 seasons, already been well utilised?
Maybe the gritty win against Manly struck a chord and reminded long-suffering supporters that their enigmatic team were alive in the finals race and there were still vacant seats on the bandwagon.
In saying that, I'm assuming most Knights fans would have been well aware that Kalyn Ponga, Daniel Saifiti, David Klemmer, Mitchell Pearce, Tyson Frizell, Hymel Hunt and Edrick Lee were unavailable for the clash with Parramatta, leaving Newcastle at long odds against the team sitting third on the points table.
The crippling list of absentees, parlayed into the annual State of Origin twilight zone during which interest in the NRL wanes for the best part of two months, would usually be a guaranteed crowd killer.
Instead the Novocastrian faithful queued in even longer lines. So, how to explain this anomaly?
Well, it's not rocket science. All I can assume is that many of the fans were there to cheer on not only the players on the field, but those who went before them.
It was Old Boys' day, which is traditionally one of the highlights of any Knights season.
And this was no ordinary Old Boys' day, it was the 20-year reunion of the 2001 grand final triumph, and a chance to salute the men who became club legends during their time in the blue and red.
Given the Knights' lack of success over the ensuing two decades - during which they have changed ownership three times, collected four wooden spoons and won only three finals games - is it any wonder fans still cling to their joyous memories of the good old days, or that those players are still revered?
And that brings me, in roundabout, rambling fashion, to the point of this column: the Knights' Hall of Fame.
The Hall of Fame was founded in 2012 and remains, in my opinion, the sole positive legacy of Nathan Tinkler's dysfunctional, disastrous tenure.
The five inaugural inductees were Andrew Johns, Paul Harragon, Michael Hagan, Matt Gidley and inaugural coach, the late Allan McMahon.
Two years later, Tony Butterfield, Danny Buderus and Mark Sargent were deservedly inducted.
Since then ... nothing. It just seems to have fallen through the cracks during the transition from Tinkler, to NRL interim ownership, to the takeover late in 2018 by the Wests Group.
When it was initially created, the plan was for the Hall of Fame to be updated every couple of years with a new inductee or two.
It would be a chance to acknowledge the club's great servants, in some cases years or decades after their careers ended, while allowing supporters to reflect on the heritage of their club.
My understanding is that the original selection panel - Michael Hill, Leigh Maughan, Allan Bell, Mike Rabbitt and Brett Keeble - met almost three years ago and agreed on two players as the next inductees, preparing themselves for if and when it was decided to next expand the Hall of Fame's numbers.
That information was passed on to the club's powers-that-be, shortly before Wests took charge.
The selection panel were under the impression the two players would be honoured at the club's upcoming presentation night, or possibly at the 2019 season launch.
Apparently they have heard nothing since.
In other words, two former Knights legends have unwittingly and unofficially qualified for the club's highest honour. They should have been feted and celebrated. Moreover, given that it is now almost seven years since the last Hall of Fame intake, a few of their mates should probably also been added to the honour roll.
For mine, Kurt Gidley and Robbie O'Davis should be the next names added, although I would have no complaints if the selection panel went with Steve Simpson, Ben Kennedy, Adam MacDougall, Matthew Johns, Mark Hughes, Timana Tahu, Billy Peden, Adam Muir or Marc Glanville ... all of whom should eventually be inducted.
Why this great concept has apparently fallen by the wayside is anyone's guess.
Is it just an oversight? Would the Wests Group prefer to commission their own selection panel?
Who knows? All this columnist can say for certain is there is not much point having a half-arsed Hall of Fame. I'd like to think a few spectators in last week's season-high crowd of 23,015 might agree with me.
Over to you, Wests.