Knights welcome chance to hit the road

COACH Wayne Bennett said the Knights were keen to put the fallout from the Australian Crime Commission's investigation behind them and turn their attention back to the game they play.

Bennett and a 30-man Knights squad will leave on Thursday for a 10-day road trip highlighted by NRL preseason trials against South Sydney at Coffs Harbour on Saturday night and Cronulla at Tamworth the following Saturday.

The Knights are one of six NRL clubs named in the ACC's Project Aperio report, which exposed links to organised crime, performance-enhancing drug use and match fixing.

Knights chief executive Matt Gidley and his counterparts from Canberra, Cronulla, Manly, North Queensland and Penrith met on Tuesday with Tony Whitlam QC, the head of the NRL's integrity unit, and Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority representatives.

Specific details, and the names of players and other people of interest, were not discussed at those meetings, but club officials were given an overview and briefed on the process ASADA is following as it pursues information and intelligence collected in the ACC's year-long investigation.

Though Gidley would not comment on Wednesday night, it is understood the Knights do not anticipate a quick conclusion or resolution to the investigation and are getting back to business in preparation for their trials and NRL home season-opener against Wests Tigers on March 11.

In statements issued on Tuesday night, Gidley was "confident we have no issues of concern going forward", and the NRL said the investigation process "may take some time".

"While no specific details or players were mentioned by the ASADA representatives, they made it clear the Knights coaching staff and support team, and their procedures, were given the all-clear," Gidley said in his statement.

"We are bound by a confidentiality agreement and can't go into details of the meeting but we now have a much better understanding of the process and we completely support what the NRL is doing."

Bennett, meanwhile, said he and the players were looking forward to going into camp and getting ready for the games against the Rabbitohs and Sharks.

Both opponents made the top eight last season and Souths reached the final four, falling one game short of a grand final appearance.

"They've trained extremely hard - 2½ months of training and getting beaten up at training - so they're looking forward to playing, and I think we're all looking forward to going away for a week," Bennett said.

"We're staying up in the country because we've got Tamworth the following week.

"We do a lot of good things. I've been reading about all the bad things we're supposed to be doing, but I can't tell you the amount of good things these guys do and clubs do.

"That's why the fans will know that we've done the right thing here - and sponsors - so we've just got to work through this process now . . . "

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