Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
Robbie O’Davis is a Newcastle Knights club legend, notching up 223 appearances in the blue and red whilst receiving numerous accolades along the way.
However, on multiple occasions throughout his career, O’Davis was offered contracts from other clubs that he seriously considered signing, especially deals that would see him return to his native Queensland.
“Every contract right from the start I was offered temptation, Broncos during my first contract and then Souths during my final contract. I thought loyalty was a bad thing (oh how I was wrong),” O’Davis told Everything Rugby League.
In the end, O’Davis’ loyalty to the Knights paid off with two premierships, one in 1997 against the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles and the other in 2001 against the Parramatta Eels.
When looking back the former fullback finds it hard to find a significant difference between the two Grand Finals.
“Half a competition in 1997 and a full competition in 2001 was the only difference.
“It was the same standard of footy and the team [Newcastle] had similar strengths.”
A big difference between the two for O’Davis personally though was winning the Clive Churchill Medal in 1997, after scoring two very important tries.”
“Yeah I had a big day out in ’97, I usually only watch the fullbacks during games so I love it when other fullbacks win the medal.”
O’Davis is also very impressed with how his former side is shaping up for the 2021 NRL season and believes that the Knights can go all the way and win the premiership, a feat they’ve not achieved since O’Davis was in the team.
“They [Newcastle] will be a mature side. Frizell will make a difference, as well as Brailey and Watson.
“Ponga, when he is playing as a fullback and not a half, is unstoppable, and we need Mitchell in the team to win any final.
“Keep those guys fit and they’ll be in the big dance in 2021, they have the right coach for the job.”
Next year will mark 20 years since the Newcastle Knights have won a premiership, so the club’s faithful will be hoping O’Davis’ words ring true.