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The Coal & Allied Newcastle Knights today confirmed the appointment of Premiership winning coach Wayne Bennett as Head Coach for four seasons from 2012. Wayne will commence with the Knights on 1 November this year.
The appointment is exciting news for the club and the region, which is identified as the country's most prolific rugby league nursery and host to the game's most passionate fans.
The Tinkler Sports Group Executive Chairman Ken Edwards said the news was a massive win for the community and the Knights Rugby League club.
"We are building something really special for the entire community and are thrilled to know that Wayne Bennett will be part of it," Edwards said.
"Wayne's appointment confirms exactly what Nathan has been saying, that the Hunter region has developed dramatically and now the best do not have to go to Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane to prosper, they can now stay or join us in the Hunter.
"This is a major step for the region as we continue to build community pride and above all, further expand the club's existing policy to provide a pathway for all juniors to have the opportunity to play for the Knights.
"What excites everyone at the club is Wayne's commitment to work closely with the Newcastle Rugby League, to ensure that a professional structure is in place for young player development and a full programme for local coaches.
"This is a genuine revolution for everyone involved in rugby league from Newcastle up to the Queensland boarder," Edwards concluded.
Wayne Bennett has confirmed his commitment to work closely with all levels of rugby league in building a long lasting legacy for the game's development in the Hunter region.
The decision of Wayne Bennett to join the Knights, completes a massive fortnight for the Tinkler Sports Group having secured ownership of the club with 97% member's support and the completion of Ausgrid Stadium's new facilities, now providing Novocastrians with one of the best stadiums in Australia.
TSG CEO Troy Palmer was high in his praise for the job being done by the Knights current head coach Rick Stone.
"It is business as usual and Rick and his team will be given everything needed to achieve the very best possible outcome for the Knights this season," Palmer said.
"Rick has done and is doing an outstanding job with the NRL team and has developed a strong culture throughout the club.
"Wayne will sit down with Rick in the near future to discuss an on-going relationship," he concluded.
The appointment of Wayne Bennett is seen as a major building block in the TSG Not for Profit "Sporting Newcastle" team, that is unique to Australian Sport and will continue to grow and develop for the benefit of the community.