Plans for the long anticipated Newcastle Knights Centre of Excellence have been unveiled by NSW Minister for Sport Stuart Ayres and Newcastle Knights Chief Executive Philip Gardner.
The NSW Government is contributing $10 million towards the new facility, matched by $10 million from the Newcastle Knights owners The Wests Group.
Commenting on the plans, Minister Ayres stated “this state-of-the-art facility will foster rugby league at all levels – from juniors to professionals – with three new training fields and multi-purpose facilities.
“The new Centre of Excellence will be the first high-performance rugby league training facility between Sydney and the Gold Coast and for the first time ever players will have a pre-game warm up area.”
Minister Ayres also confirmed the location for the facility as adjacent to McDonald Jones Stadium’s Southern Grandstand inside the Hunter Sports and Entertainment Precinct at Broadmeadow.
Gardner said the centre will be a massive boost for the Knights which are the number one supported professional team in regional NSW, adding “with playing fields proposed for nearby District Park land – this will enable the Knights to bring their entire operations into one facility, reducing costs, improving integration outcomes and providing an additional venue for local and regional community needs.”
The NRL Centre of Excellence fund was created after the NSW Government redirected funds previously allocated as cash payments for NRL Grand Finals towards community based Centres of Excellence. Funding has been approved for five NSW NRL Clubs – the Bulldogs, the Knights, the Rabbitohs, the Roosters and the Sharks, in a dollar for dollar match of each club’s contribution.