The Newcastle Knights and Newcastle Jets are lifting the city's self esteem

The football gods are shining again on Newcastle.

It’s about time, hey.

We’ve suffered. Oh, how we’ve suffered.

It’s been years of wooden spoons, poor performances, and anger and frustration on the terraces.

Then in the space of a week, the Knights defeat Manly with a golden point and a 10-man Jets defeat top-of-the-ladder Sydney FC.

The Jets are looking good for a strong performance in the finals.

There’s even that hopeful and slightly anxious feeling that a premiership could be on the cards.

We don’t want to say it out loud. We might jinx it.

Then there’s the Knights and last Friday night’s atmosphere, tension and exhilaration.

We were talking to former Liverpool star and Novocastrian Craig Johnston about 18 months ago about the travails of the Jets and the Knights.

Even though he lives in Florida and London nowadays, Johnston felt our pain.

He said Novocastrians were “inexorably linked to the exploits and failures of their sports teams” – the Jets and the Knights.

“Self-esteem is wrapped up in the teams, even if we don’t know it,” he said.

Johnston knows the city isn’t quite right when its teams aren’t performing.

When our teams are winning, problems in our lives don’t seem as bad.

The teams have the power to lift the spirit of the region. Their performances can bring everyone together. That’s some power.

Anyhow, we were flicking through the Twitter feed of the Knights game on Friday night when we came across a tweet from a bloke named Jamie, who goes by the handle @Swarzey.

After Mitchell Pearce scored the winner with a dropkick, he dubbed him a “god” and a “king”.

“Finally the prophecy has been fulfilled. The second coming of Andrew Johns has arrived,” he wrote.

Is he right?


Beer, water and weed

Ian King, of Warners Bay, was on holiday up north recently.

A couple of signs caught his eye.

“The first was on the way to Bellingen from Urunga,” he said.

“It read, ‘Welcome to Bellingen Shire, please don’t waste water’.

“Underneath someone had painted ‘drink beer instead’.”

The second sign he noticed was in the Tweed Heads area.

It read “Please drive carefully”.

Someone had blacked out the T in Tweed, so it read “weed”.

The sign now read: “You are now in the weed Shire”.

Ian reckons this is “very appropriate”, given the amount of marijuana grown and used in the area.

We should point out that Ian didn’t partake in any of the weed. But if he did, he definitely wouldn’t inhale.

Plain Jane

We were chatting to Jane Smith recently for a story about the old Tighes Hill School of Arts building.

We asked for her full name, to which she replied “it’s as plain as you get”.

“But Jane is a lovely name,” we replied.

When she was born and named, her father apparently remarked that his daughter would be “plain Jane and no nonsense”.