Newton leaves his legacy on Knights
Veteran Knights warhorse Clint Newton had little time to reflect on his final game of rugby league before rushing to get dressed for the retiring players presentation ahead of the NRL Grand Final, following Newcastle's 26-12 loss to Ipswich in the State Championship.
As he madly scrambled from his playing kit to a lounge suit before being paraded in front of the sold-out ANZ Stadium crowd, Newton threw his support behind his NSW Cup teammates for being able to get him to this point in the final season of his career.
Newton finished his rugby league career having played 273 games across two stints with Newcastle as well as other appearances for Hull KR, Melbourne and Penrith – having won the 2007 grand final with the Storm as well as representing Country Origin in the same year.
"It's certainly good to get a last chance on the big stage and I can't thank the playing group enough for giving me the opportunity to do this," Newton said.
"Without the team that we have got I don't get the chance to play on in the big stage so that's where I'm incredibly grateful and really proud to represent and lead this team and wear the red and blue.
"[The realisation of my career ending] will come no doubt but I'm just trying to get my head around what just happened. Like I said, it's been awesome and that game doesn't define my career and doesn't define the playing group.
"That's the biggest thing these boys have to understand is that it's just life sometimes and it doesn't always go the way you want. When I look over to my family and things like that you realise there's plenty to life other than footy.
"I've played 15 years longer than I ever thought I would so it's been awesome."
Newton has been a real leader for Newcastle's young stars coming through the grades, with boom fullback Jake Mamo saying the veteran forward helped inspire the team's run from seventh on the ladder to NSW Cup premiers.
"In the past two years since coming back he's understood his role as a mentor for the younger guys. He was happy to be playing reserve grade and for us to win the title with him in his retiring year it definitely meant the world to him," Mamo told NRL.com.
"The average age in our team you'll find is about 21 and we're all just young blokes who have grown up watching him play. To play alongside a bloke with so much passion – he gives us so much and we've definitely been playing for him the last couple of weeks."
But for now, we'll leave Newton with the last word, one that he provided NRL.com before Newcastle's 20-10 NSW Cup premiership win over Wyong a fortnight ago.
"A lot of people look at certain things about success in rugby league, like 'Have you played for Australia?' or 'Have you played for New South Wales?' or anything like that. But for me I don't judge success by that," he said.
"I think success should be judged by the legacy you leave and the impact you have had on other people. For me personally I believe I've done the best I could with what I've had. I have managed to get every bit out of this body as humanly possible."