Allan Bell from Nelson Bay presented with Knights Life Membership

Allan Bell with his Newcastle Knights Life Membership medal.
Allan Bell with his Newcastle Knights Life Membership medal.


AT the Newcastle Knights Old Boys day held last week, a club stalwart from Nelson Bay was bestowed the honour of Life Membership.

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Allan Bell is relatively unknown outside the inner sanctum of rugby league royalty, but his legacy of mentoring young players and coaches still lives on today at the sprightly age of 74.

Typically, it is difficult for these people to boast about their behind-the-scenes contributions, but it is nevertheless worthy of celebrating.

The Johns brothers, Harragon, Robbie O, Muir, MacDougall, Gidley, Kimmorley, Butterfield, Glanville, Albert, Crowe, Peden, Marquet and Craigie are just some of the many Knights players that Bell has mentored over the years.

He has also worked with coaches such as Warren Ryan, Alan McMahon, Tim Sheens, David Waite and Robert Finch.

“Picking the right people for the right job is an art,” Bell said.

“A player’s ability is only a small part of the overall package, the mind is the big thing, that’s what transforms someone from an average player to a representative player.”

News Of The Area spoke with two long time Bell collaborators and Nelson Bay identities who have enjoyed their own success as players and coaches about Bell’s knowledge and value as a mentor and adviser.

Peter Walsh said that Bell has a keen eye for talent and understood the game better than most.

“His involvement in the game as firstly a player in western Sydney and later as a coaching coordinator and mentor has made him unique in rugby league circles,” Walsh said.

Michael Hagan described the league guru as a great educator of players on the important fundamentals of the game and the strategy required to win games.

“Allan was extremely influential in the success that the Knights achieved from its early days and this helped the platform for the team winning their first premiership in 1997.

He was very dedicated and he spent countless hours reviewing videos and implementing drills on the training paddock.

“Being awarded Life Membership is a fitting and well deserved reward for a man who helped put the foundations in place and provided much needed guidance to coaches and a hungry group of young players.”

Bell was presented his medal by Matthew Johns, who said how lucky he had been to have Bell as a mentor. “He was 10 years ahead of his time and no doubt helped me understand the game”.

Allan Bell will be a special guest at the Men of League bowls day to take place on Sunday, 24 September, at Nelson Bay Bowling Club starting at 9.30am.


By Charlie ELIAS

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