24 May 2014

Knights hopeful about life without Tinkler

8:52 am on 24 May 2014

The National Rugby League is trying to secure the future of the Newcastle Knights, after mining magnate Nathan Tinkler confirmed his ownership of the club is officially over.

The NRL says it'll continue to lead negotiations with various parties after Tinkler's Hunter Sports Group on Friday confirmed their exit, blaming new custodians, the Knights Members Club, for stalling handover negotiations and going to great lengths to talk up the ways in which Hunter Sports Group had benefited Newcastle.

The Newcastle Knights will look to Wayne Bennett and the powerful Wests Group to ensure their NRL viability, with Knights Members Club head Nick Dan confirming that keeping supercoach Bennett at the helm and enlisting the financial help of local leagues club Wests Group would be crucial in Newcastle's ability to rebuild from the crisis.

Tinkler's departure was being widely celebrated in league circles on Friday, but the road ahead for the embattled Newcastle club, its players and staff remains uncertain, with accounts and liabilities - well into the millions of dollars - still to be settled.

Bennett has a year to run on his contract, rumoured to be worth more than $1 million a year, but is uncertain about what his future holds and has been linked to a return to Brisbane next year.