The Newcastle Knights used their end-of-season awards night as an opportunity to farewell a number of departing players and staff ahead of the 2023 season, with nine departures ranging from young talent to NRL veterans all departing the Hunter.

The Dolphins are set to be the biggest beneficiary, with livewire half Anthony Milford and towering winger Edrick Lee both set to join the NRL’s newest club when the pre-season begins.

Milford was given a lifeline by the Knights early in the season, making his debut in the red and blue back in Round 11. Though he struggled for consistency, he showed glimpses of his best at times, making 13 appearances and crossing the 200-game milestone while at Newcastle.

Lee has become one of the club’s favourite sons since his arrival from Cronulla in 2019, scoring 26 tries in just 41 games. Sadly, Lee’s time in the Hunter was significantly affected by injury, and the rangy outside back never played more than 16 games in a season.

The club also farewells veteran props Mitch Barnett and Sauaso Sue, who are departing for the New Zealand Warriors and Hull KR respectively.

Barnett has been a mainstay at the club, playing over 100 games and earning plenty of praise for his efforts as one of the team’s most consistent performers throughout their mixed fortunes of the last seven years.

Sue made a strong impression in his first season, playing 23 games and helping the Knights return to the finals, but his 2022 campaign was affected by inconsistencies and suspension.

Young talents Tex Hoy, Jirah Momoisea, Brayden Musgrove and Pasami Saulo are all also leaving the club, with Hoy headed to England to play for Hull FC and Momoisea joining the Parramatta Eels while Saulo leaves for the nation’s capital.

The final departure comes from the coaching staff, with assistant to Adam O’Brien, Willie Peters, leaving to take up the head coaching role at Hull KR.