THE start of four days of “footy fever” rolled into Tamworth late yesterday when the blue and red cavalry arrived ahead of their pre-season National Rugby League match between the Newcastle Knights and the Cronulla Sharks.
The Newcastle Knights get to work from today with a packed schedule of training and community engagements.
After playing with the dolphins at Coffs Harbour following their pre-season match against South Sydney Rabbitohs last weekend, which they won 18-6, the Knights are ready to hit the ground running.
A series of school visits, coaching clinics and community promotional activities are scheduled between now and Saturday’s big game at West Tamworth League Club.
Today a number of the Knights players will travel to Coonabarabran where they will present a cheque to the Mayor’s Bushfire Appeal and hold a barbecue for school students.
Travelling with them will beformer Canberra Raiders captain Alan Tongue, a former Loomberah resident and Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School student, who is an NRL ambassador.
Tomorrow the Knights will host an open training session at Jack Woolaston Oval – their training compound for the rest of the week – and will visit children staying at Ronald McDonald House in the grounds of Tamworth hospital.
Selected school rugby league teams have been invited to watch the Knights training session on Friday, before taking part in a skills session at Scully Park.
On Saturday morning, in the lead up to their game, the Knights will make an appearance at the Minor League registration day.
Destination Tamworth’s business events manager Gavin Flanagan said tickets for the game were selling quickly.
“The trial match is a massive opportunity for the region and allows local people to see some of the NRL’s biggest names in their own backyard,” he said.
As part of what could be deemed a big rugby league weekend, a special “An evening with Wayne Bennett Sportsman’s Dinner” will feature a question-and-answer session with the Knight’s coach at TRECC on Friday night.
On Saturday the on-park action will kick off from 4.45pm, with the Sharks vs Knights Under 20s match curtain raiser.
The main game is scheduled for a 7.30pm start.
More information about the sportsman’s dinner and ticketing information for both the dinner and the game can be found on the visit Tamworth website www.visittamworth.com.au