Knights CEO Philip Gardner admits the development of the club's inaugural reconciliation action plan brought some sobering reality checks about how the organisation was viewed by members of the Indigenous community.
There was once a time, he said on Wednesday at the unveiling of the 44-page document, when some of the club's players did not feel comfortable displaying their Indigenous heritage.
But step by step, much like the NRL and society more broadly, the club has worked on improving its relationships with Indigenous peoples, both internally and externally, and the reconciliation action plan is the next chapter in improving those cultural relations.
"We learn, we acknowledge the mistakes we've made in the past and how we've treated people," Gardner said.
"This plan is an opportunity for us all to come together, to show respect for each other, to care about each other, and to ensure in the future, we don't make the mistakes of the past."
Gardner acknowledged racism had been experienced at the club in years gone by, and noted the "challenging" journeys of former players Timana Tahu and Jason Moodie.
But he said they, and the club's Aboriginal Advisory Panel which has crafted the plan, had "not been about blame", but "talking to us about how we become better".
The plan sets out a number of actions the club plans to deliver on by July 2025, focused on four key overarching areas including: relationships, respect, opportunity and governance.
Aboriginal Advisory Panel member Andrew Smith, who is the CEO of Worimi Local Aboriginal Land Council, described the plan as a "mud map" to move forward.
"The Knights' reputation in our community over the many, many years hasn't always been fantastic," Smith said.
"But you've taken the knocks on the chin and we as an aboriginal community have got your back, we've got behind you.
"The reconciliation action plan, what's important is that it doesn't become a dusty document in someone's top drawer.
"It's an internal document ... we are certainly here to have your back and support you, and ensure we are working together, but it needs to resonate and have a ripple effect throughout the whole organisation.
"From the person at the Wests Group that might be responsible for cleaning the toilets, right through to the chief executive officer and the board.
"This is a mud map, it's a guideline, by the way in which we agree to come together."
In addition to Smith, the Knights' Aboriginal Advisory Panel includes: Ashley Gordon, the club's first signing; Nathan Towney, a University of Newcastle Pro-Vice Chancellor; Simone Jordon, an Indigenous Employment Partner at UoN; Jason Darney, an Executive Director with TAFE NSW; and Ronald Griffiths, the Knights' NSW Cup and former NRLW coach.
Gardner hailed Griffiths' work in recent years, which includes guiding the NRLW team to consecutive premierships.
"It's a wonderful thing that we have our first-ever Indigenous coach ... it's also a great shame that we had to wait so long to have an Indigenous coach," he said.