Renowned Newcastle Herald sports journalist Barry Toohey interviews a legend of NSW rugby league and the Newcastle Knights each week, bringing his years of reporting experience - and extensive industry contacts - to offer a unique and in-depth behind-the-scenes look at the state's most popular sport. Toohey's News, The Podcast is a production of the Newcastle Herald sports desk.
Nathan Ross: From coal miner to cult hero
Nathan Ross was told by arguably the greatest coach in rugby league history, Wayne Bennett, back in 2013 to forget about his dream of playing in the NRL because he was never going to make it. Ross ignored the brutal advice and a year later, walked away from the security of a $125,000 mining job despite being about to become a father for the first time to sign a modest $25,000 contract with the Newcastle Knights.
He went on to play 60 NRL games for the Knights between 2015 and 2018 after making his debut under Danny Buderus at the age of 26 and became a cult hero among Knights fans during some of the darkest days in the club's history.
In our latest Toohey's News podcast, the player known as 'White Lightning' or simply 'Ross Dog' takes us back over his remarkable career and talks about the highly controversial way it ended in medical retirement.
Brett Kimmorley on his good, great, bad journey
Could Brett Kimmorley's timing have been any worse? He emerged on the scene at the Newcastle Knights as a young halfback on the rise from Lakes United bur ran head-on into a road-block in the shape of the great Andrew Johns. But there was no holding back the player affectionately known as 'Noddy' once he made the move out of Newcastle.
A premiership and Clive Churchill Medal winner at the Melbourne Storm, Kimmorley ended up playing 307 NRL games over 12 seasons, representing NSW and Australia along the way in a glittering career that had plenty of highlights.
In the latest Toohey's News podcast, he takes us back over his wonderful playing career but also delves into the tragic loss of his child-hood sweetheart and wife Sharnie from brain cancer four years ago when she was 38 and the devastating impact it had on him and his four young daughters
Michael Hill probably wouldn't get away with it today
The first days of the Newcastle Knights were an uphill battle.
Founders Michael Hill and Leigh Maughan had a hunch that - as Newcastle and the Hunter churned out top-rate players for the best city clubs - a local club made up of local sons could give the city slickers a run for their money.
But could a Newcastle NRL club even be feasible?
The trying days that followed tested the founders' resolve and every ounce of their determination. From putting together an entire team of first-grade players with less than $400,000 in the bank to estimating crowd numbers by the number of pies sold at the ground on game day and instilling fear in the biggest and best clubs in the league when they dared set foot on Knights home turf.
In this week's instalment of Toohey's News, Newcastle Knights founder Michael Hill looks back on the early days building the Newcastle Knights, and some of the cheekier tactics it would be impossible to get away with these days that made the upstart Knights a fierce foe to face. Listen to the latest episode of Toohey's News: The Podcast on Spotify, Apple, Google, and more.
Anthony Seibold on coaching after the Broncos
Anthony Seibold had his dream job, but it ended in a nightmare.
After leading South Sydney to a preliminary final in his first season as head coach, Seibold was hot property - so much so that the Broncos offered him an astounding five-year deal to succeed legendary coach Wayne Bennett.
Charged with revitalising the Broncos roster, Seibold achieved his initial objective by reaching the finals in 2019 but that's when everything started to fall apart.
In a revealing interview with Toohey's News: The Podcast host Barry Toohey, Seibold opens up on the moment his world fell apart and how he has made his way back from the brink. Listen to the latest episode of Toohey's News: The Podcast on Apple, Google, Spotify, and all your favourite podcast apps.
Jarrod Mullen's long road to redemption
Jarrod Mullen is still seeking redemption.
The former Newcastle Knights star player and one-time captain, who stepped into the red and blue in the shadow of arguably the greatest NRL player of all time, Andrew Johns, was little more than a teenager when he was called up to professional football.
But his spectacular rise on the field only gave way to an equally devastating fall from grace as, behind the scenes, his life spiralled out of control. After testing positive for a steroid in 2017, Mullen was suspended for four years for doping offences and, cut off from football, he found himself ostracised and adrift. Split from his friends, from his club and from his teammates, Mullen turned to prescription and illicit drug use which ultimately ended in a near fatal overdose and criminal charges in 2018.
In an at-times brutally honest interview with veteran Newcastle Knights reporter Barry Toohey, Mullen reflects on the moment he hit rock bottom and the long road he has taken to redemption.
Now more than two years clean of substance abuse, and living and raising his family in Queensland, Mullen has hopes for a second chance and redemption as he returns to rugby league for a fresh start. Listen to the latest episode of Toohey's News: The Podcast on Apple, Google, Spotify, and all your favourite podcast apps.
Mitchell Pearce's legendary dad, Wayne 'Junior' Pearce
When it comes to the NRL Wayne 'Junior' Pearce has just about seen it all. The legend of league played more than 190 games for the Balmain Tigers between 1980 and 1990, and returned to coach for the same club between 1994 and 2000.
He was the first to lead NSW to a 3-0 State of Origin series win, despite suffering the devastating blow of losing two back-to-back grand finals in 1988 and 1989.
As an administrator, Pearce has been a driving force behind the evolution of the modern game, and in 2020 led the NRL's Project Apollo - a crisis management response to outbreak of COVID-19, which positioned the NRL as a world leader in returning to sport amid the impact of the pandemic.
As his son, Newcastle Knights star player Mitchell Pearce, prepares for his 300th NRL game at the weekend, Pearce senior joins Toohey's News: The Podcast host Barry Toohey to discuss his son's rise through the ranks of top-grade rugby league, as well as the controversies that have haunted his career. Find the latest episode of Toohey's News: The Podcast on Apple, Google, Spotify, or wherever you like to listen.
Barry, incredible podcasts love em! Keep up the great work! Would love one with Alan bell!
Knights fans must listen
Barry is a lot of things to a lot of people. But to everyone he is the man of Newcastle rugby league. His series chatting with key figures in Newcastle rugby league are an amazing insight into the game and the Newcastle knights. Cannot be missed.
Needs more statue content though.