BY CURTIS WOODWARD
Newcastle Knights chairman Brian McGuigan has defended the NRL after reports surfaced on Monday that League Central was considering relocating the novacastrians to Ipswich in Brisbane.
News Corp believes the NRL is frustrated at its inability to sell the club since Nathan Tinkler walked away from the Knights in 2014.
But McGuigan shut down the rumours dead in their tracks.
“I’ve found the NRL always to be straight with us and straight with the people of Newcastle,” McGuigan told the Newcastle Herald.
“I think they tell us the truth at all turns. I’ve heard some other club chairmen say other similar things, but not the NRL. They have been very, very fair with us.
“If they had any inkling on such a thing they would have told us first.”
A group of local businessmen are pushing forward with plans to emulate the NFL’s Green Bay Packers and their fan-based ownership model.
“Newcastle basically is the home of rugby league, but that’s why we are and have been supportive of the local initiative, because we were unsuccessful in getting the right people together for the sale of the club,” he said.
— Nothing But Knights (@NothingButNK) February 12, 2017
NRL CONFIRMED to me yesterday they had discussed Knights to Ipswich. Don't fall for the spin Dave. https://t.co/lhHKj0VNEK
— BUZZ ROTHFIELD (@BuzzRothfield) February 13, 2017
“But, look, I know the key people in the NRL and you can rest assured they will be trying their hardest to ensure that the club remains in Newcastle.
“The Knights have got to stay in Newcastle, for God’s sake, it’s just got to stay there and that’s why we are all working hard to make sure we do, to perform better and repay the loyalty of our unbelievable fans.”
A number of former players have already scoffed at the suggested switch including Knights legend and 1997 premiership hero Matthew Johns.
“It won’t happen,” Johns told Triple M’s The Grill Team.
“Knowing the community up there. They’d set NRL headquarters on fire first.”
It’s believed that the NRL may be using the story as a ploy to push negotiations along with potential suitors in the Hunter that includes the powerful Wests Leagues Club.
Also speaking on Triple M yesterday, legend Peter Sterling said that Newcastle was too important to the NRL for rugby league to ever vacate the city.
Raiders v Knights trial will be streamed this Saturday on raiders.com.au with kick-off at 6.30pm