Wests Group and Knights CEO Phil Gardner has praised the "amazing" support of the Newcastle community following revelations the NRL club has smashed membership records this season despite having not played finals footy since 2013.
The Newcastle Herald can reveal the Knights will today announce they have signed up more than 20,000 members for the first time in the club's history, little more than 18 months after winning their third consecutive wooden spoon.
Gardner and Knights coach Nathan Brown will make the announcement on the playing surface at McDonald Jones Stadium with a host of players and special guests expected to attend.
"It was one of the goals we set ourselves at the start of the year to try and break the 20,000 barrier for the first time,"Gardner told the Newcastle Herald.
"But I don't think any of us expected it to happen this early in the season. There has obviously been a lot of work behind the scenes go into making it happen but we really have to thank the whole community for their amazing support. We really are blessed with fantastic fans who have supported the club through thick and thin and it's a reminder to our players just how important it is for them to really perform and win at home. I think the boys understand that now."
The club's previous highest membership figure came at the end of last season when the Knights had 18,017 members.
Newcastle is now ranked sixth in the NRL for members behind Brisbane, Souths, Parramatta, Melbourne and St George Illawarra and despite winning only two of their opening five games at home this season, are averaging crowds of 20,350 at McDonald Jones Stadium.
In just their second year as owners, the influence of the highly successful Wests Group on the Knights is significant.
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In their first year in charge, the Knights made a profit of more than $1 million, turning around a $4.6 million loss from the previous year when the NRL had control of the club.
Gardner said the Knights would continue to strive to bridge the gap between themselves and the NRL premiership heavyweights.