Knights want power of local NRLW talent | Ralph Lauren

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Blake Green claims Newcastle’s local NRLW stars can be trailblazers for young girls in the Hunter region if they don’t turn their back on the newest women’s franchise.

As revealed by AAP last week, the Knights are yet to land a blow in the recruitment market despite the competition set to start in August.

Other new clubs Gold Coast and Parramatta are set to land stars, but the Knights have struggled to lure players away from foundation clubs they’ve already made commitments to.

It makes for a difficult start to a coaching career for newly retired NRL player Green, who wants to run his side as professionally as possible.

After 15 seasons in the NRL, it’s the only way he knows how to operate.

“If I’m going to put my name to it I want to do it properly,” he told AAP.

“We want to create the right culture.

“I want the girls to be able to learn as much as they can and keep each other accountable and come together as a group and be a team that we can be proud of in our community.

“Particularly the local ones who are already established who I want to bring back, they can be a trailblazer for the local girls in the area and provide some inspiration for them.”

Hannah Southwell and Isabelle Kelly are two of the biggest stars of the women’s game and, still in their early 20s, they still have long careers ahead of them.

The duo play for Central Coast in the NSWRL women’s competition along with fellow NSW Origin players Yasmin Meakes and Brydie Parker.

Green knows how persuasive it would be to have local stars playing for the Knights to show future players the power of a pathway.

Both Southwell and Kelly are expected to play for Sydney Roosters this season but Green hasn’t given up hope of luring them to the Knights.

“That’s the challenge, because they’ve left the nest, they’ve blossomed somewhere else, it’s difficult to get them back,” he said.

“But the opportunity for us now is to create the right pathway and put things in place.”

Green heads up an all-star coaching staff along with Indigenous All Stars assistant Jess Skinner, while former NSW Origin enforcer Mark O’Meley will work with the forwards.

NSW Cup coach Andrew Ryan is also on hand to help out.

A women’s team in the NSWRL competition next year as well as the expected completion of a centre of excellence will take the Knights to a new level in 2022.

“I’ll throw as much detail as I can into the team and whatever their appetite is for that is where I’ll go with it,” Green said.

“The set up and rotation that I’ve got in mind is going to mimic NRL because that’s the only system I’ve been in for the last 15 years, so it’s going to be as professional as possible.

“For NRLW and Newcastle for 12 weeks, it’s going to be full noise.”


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