NRL Knights Founder Leigh Maughan Asks Nathan Tinkler To Hand Club Back
National Rugby League club Newcastle Knights founding father Leigh Maughan said that "it is time for [Nathan] Tinkler’s Hunter Sports Group to hand the club back," according to Robert Dillon of THE AGE. After HSG missed Monday’s deadline to have in place a A$10.52M ($9.7M) bank guarantee, Tinkler "has defaulted on the terms and conditions of his 2011 takeover," entitling the Knights Members Club to buy the NRL outfit back for A$1. Maughan, the former NBN sports commentator who along with solicitor Michael Hill and real-estate agent Gerry Edser successfully lobbied to have Newcastle included in the 1988 NSW Rugby League competition, said that "HSG’s position was now untenable." Maughan said on Monday, "I did hang my hat on Nathan Tinkler. I had a couple of cups of coffee with him and found him to be a decent country boy, and quite frankly he saved the Knights from bankruptcy. ... But what’s gone on since, the money’s not the only thing that’s been lacking. What is also lacking is the management skills ... a lot of people like me are now wondering what the hell is going on in the joint.’’ Asked if he felt HSG could remain involved in some capacity, Maughan replied, ‘‘No ... you can’t go belly-up and expect to stay on board" (THE AGE, 4/1). In Sydney, Daniel Lane wrote the Newcastle Knights have condemned what they labeled a "sensationalised" TV report on the condition of injured player Alex McKinnon, 22, who suffered spinal damage in last week's match against Melbourne. On Monday night, Channel Nine reported that McKinnon was told by doctors he would not walk again "but a statement issued by the Knights insisted there had been no new developments in regards to his condition." The Knights said, "While Alex’s condition continues to improve, his body is in the first phase of recovery. As previously shared, he has movement in his right arm and the uncertainty remains in the extent of further recovery. The doctors explained any regeneration and recovery could [take] up to two years" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 4/1).