The Newcastle Knights season is over for 2018 and while the players and coaching staff take a well earned break from the game, one of the club’s staunchest fans can’t wait for pre-season training to kick off in November.
Tanilba Bay’s Dylan Fry, a Knights fan since childhood, became a member of the extended Knights family this season courtesy of his disability support worker, Tammy Davis, from Endeavour Group.
The 20-year-old who has a disruptive behavioural disorder has made huge advances since being accepted by both players and trainers in the Knights camp.
And there’s no guessing who are his favourite players: Mitchell Pearce, Kalyn Ponga, Shaun Kenny-Dowell and Aiden Guerra.
“Shaun is the biggest joker in the team, he always has a big smile on his face,” said Fry, a Mallabula Panthers junior with a premiership under his belt.
“He even lets me join the players’ huddle sometimes, it makes me feel like I’m part of the team.”
As an assistant to team manager John Thompson, Fry’s role is to help prepare the field for training drills, refill and hand out the water bottles and pack all the equipment away at training’s end.
Since taking up the role at the Knights, both Tammy and Dylan’s mother Sharon Fry say there has been a marked improvement in Dylan's social skills and commitment to fitness.
“There’s no doubt the players have helped him with his confidence and self-esteem,” Tammy said. “They make him feel like he belongs.
“In fact, all the players and management are so fond of Dylan they have invited him to the club’s end of season presentation night. This means so much to Dylan and his family.”
While the Newcastle Knights players enjoy an extended off-season, Dylan said the break would provide him with a good opportunity to enjoy his other favourite pastime, fishing.
“I enjoy fishing off the point at Lemon Tree Passage … it’s great fun but I enjoy the footy more,” he said.
Dylan said that he would be counting down the days till the Knights playing group reassembles in November in preparation for a more successful 2019 NRL season.