Knights to go bush

Knightly News ? 9 February 2004

The Newcastle Knights will go bush next week in an effort to bolster rugby league in regional areas.

The QantasLink rugby league clinics have been organised to encourage the development on the game on the North Coast of New South Wales as well as into parts of Queensland.

Knights, NSW and Australian captain, Andrew Johns, will join internationals Ben Kennedy, Danny Buderus, Matt Gidley, Timana Tahu, Steve Simpson, Robbie O?Davis and rising player Clint Newton on the development tour.

Johns said the rural areas were important to the game?s future. ?I know it is mentioned often, but the bush truly is the lifeblood of rugby league, with so many NRL players starting their playing days in regional areas,? he said. "It is not often that we get the chance to get out and meet the kids in those areas, so it's great that QantasLink have made it possible again this year." Johns reflected on his own childhood aspirations, growing up in the Hunter Valley town of Cessnock. ?I know how excited I was when the big name Sydney players came to town,? he said. ?What makes these trips a little more special, however, is the fact that we get to spend a bit more time on the ground with the kids.? The two-day tour of Lennox Head and Byron Bay, starting February 18, will involve coaching clinics at local schools, as well as evening functions.