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An hour before gates had even opened at McDonald Jones Stadium on Friday afternoon, hundreds of Knights fans were waiting patiently in the carpark out the front, eagerly queuing up to see their beloved club play.

This isn't a team that has won 10 on the trot – they have won two games since the start of the 2016 season – but it doesn't matter to the locals. Whenever the Knights play in Newcastle, it's the hottest ticket in town.

When the Holden Cup kicked off there were already plenty of people stationed in their favourite spots on the hill cheering on generation next as they came from behind to pull off a crucial win over the Roosters.

The first grade side wasn't able to follow suit, but that didn't stop 21,412 Novocastrians from supporting them until the final whistle.

‌The crowd figure was the biggest turnout since 21,653 fans came to watch their team beat the Wests Tigers 18-16 last year, and despite having to endure plenty of losses since, their support has never wavered. 

"The way they keep turning up… it must be tough. As tough as it is on the players I reckon it's as tough on the fans," Knights coach Nathan Brown said following his side's 24-6 loss. 

"They can see the improvement and they can see a lot of young kids that have been given a lot of opportunities a touch before their time but they're seeing the rewards they're getting out of that. It's just important that we keep working hard and trying to win some key moments in games." 

Knights skipper Trent Hodkinson said the team got a lift every time they ran onto the field and saw the sea of blue and red in the stands. 

"It's always good to come back here and play in front of the home crowd," Hodkinson said. 

"They keep turning out in numbers and they're sticking strong. We're trying our best to repay them, but we've just got to continue to work hard at training and I'm sure a win's not too far away."

Roosters co-captain Boyd Cordner – who grew up near Newcastle – said the atmosphere at McDonald Jones Stadium was "what footy was all about". 

"They love their footy and it's awesome how they get behind their team every week," Cordner said. 

"It goes to show how much they love their footy up here. I played a lot of junior games up here and I know how much this footy team means to this town. 

"To play in front of a crowd like this, that's what footy is all about and that's why you play the game."


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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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