“I’ve been a Newcastle fan for more than 50 years. It was my first foray into the games and was keen to give something back. I tried to be a total Melbourne Storm supporter. The management and club asked me to campaign on several fronts and I was honest and honest to them and made very strong, no-holds-barred calls to make sure that [they] kept and wanted to do the absolute best for the program,” Materra said. “That’s what football’s all about, I guess, and I’ve always appreciated a fair crack of the whip and providing some respect to the Club, some love for the players and especially, the Country teammates.

“But I was confident that I could do what I needed to do to deliver what the players and club wanted.” Newcastle Knights and Hunter supporters, said Materra, who will remain an active supporter of the club, have long been passionate about rugby league and, more than anything, how it is played. Materra said the Knights are in the business of providing community rugby and their continued support will continue to build the club’s brand across the country and on Saturday night in Sydney. “The Knights play this game and its proud and long standing and every step of the way, I think they have always been great for community rugby,” Materra said.

“I played behind them, young, ruckmen and I’ve played as well, in good teams, and it is always fun to support the team. “They’ve done a great job in the last couple of seasons. It is unfortunate there’s going to be some heavy revenue loss through the rebuild after the SCG stadium, with the increased funding that’s been put in this year. I guess that is a difficult pill to swallow for the club, but they are doing a fantastic job, they’ve been able to get through all of that.

“That’s the bottom line with the club and the community – look where they are and I think that’s what’s going to bring them through. “It has to be a tough pill to swallow for them to go through this rebuild, but I’m sure, from what they’ve said and how they’ve done, they have bigger and better goals. “I don’t expect any of these players, I’m sure all of the players and how they have gone on to become great players, they’ve all been great entertainers to the fans. “When you come to a game and the crowd erupts into wild celebrations it’s definitely a good thing for the team.”

Materra, who played at the Club’s youngest club, Blacktown Tigers, signed off the campaign by encouraging supporters to attend the round-19 home game against Wests Tigers at Lismore on Saturday at 4.40pm. “It’s been good, to get the program back running in a bigger and better way, we have an absolutely fantastic young team and we want to take that out to Sydney as well,” Materra said. “I think it was very important we did it in Sydney.