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14 February 2020 06:55

Kalyn Ponga Newcastle Knights North Queensland Cowboys

nrl nines

For a man who played fullback, hooker, five-eighth, centre and halfback during his 15-season NRL career, where do you think the Knights might put Kurt Gidley in their Nines side? "I don't think it really matters in the Nines, even though there are still specific positions," Gidley told NRL.com. "It's unstructured but I think I'll be playing that half-fullback role in getting around the ball. "It's exciting, slash, daunting." Biggest thrill? "It's always a been a pleasure and privilege to pull on the Knights jersey.

NRL 2020: Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights, out of retirement and into Nines

It wasn't hard to want to do it again. I'm really proud of that jersey," he said. Who is the NRL Nines team to beat? Biggest fear? "Not to embarrass myself," Gidley says. "I want to play well. I've crossed paths with some of my opponents at the airport and they are all big, fast and strong by the looks of things." So soreness will be a feature of a return to the Knights – a club Gidley both captained and played 251 games with before retiring at the end of 2015. The pre-tournament prep hasn't been extensive. "I've only done a couple of training sessions with the boys to be truthful," he said. Club favourites set to ignite NRL Nines But the eagerness is in over-drive. I haven't played in the previous NRL Nines as I had a couple of off-season surgeries that kept me out," he said. "I guess it's just another thing to tick off the list." Gidley may be a happily retired 37-year-old, but he is still a superbly fit one. "I train pretty regularly with a few of my ex-teammates down at the beach and around town," he says. A Knights legend, a former NSW Origin captain and Australian Kangaroos player with a dozen caps to his name, Gidley is also on the club's 'Old Boys' committee. Nine players with a point to prove in Perth He has regular contact with the current crop of players even if Sione Mata-utia is his only contemporary from 2015. "I went to have a chat with some of the younger guys at the club a few weeks back. Scott Dureau (assistant coach) asked me to come in and talk some history and culture and what the Knights mean to me," Gidley said. "Off the back of that Adam (O'Brien) asked me if I wanted to play the Nines. He had a couple of guys coming back from injury and a couple of others he wanted to rest, so here I am." Mata'utia is in Perth but another Knights current player Gidley is looking forward to running out alongside is Kurt Mann, who is also his roommate. "Kurt reminds me a little of me playing in a number of positions. I remember him as a youngster when he was playing under 18s and 20s at the club when he was originally brought down from Queensland, before he went to Storm," he said. "I've been watching his career and he's a real competitor. So I'm looking forward to playing with him." Gidley is not on his lonesome in stirring up the old game-day juices once again. Corey Parker (Broncos), Andrew Ryan (Bulldogs), Michael Gordon (Titans), and Pat Richards (Wests Tigers) couldn't resist the temptation either. Get your tickets to the 2020 NRL Nines in Perth at nrl.com/tickets. Official NRL Travel packages, including NRL Nine's tickets, accommodation options and exclusive experiences with NRL Legends can be purchased via www.nrl.com/travel