Gallant Knight the king of the kids in his home town Family and footy hero paves way
YOU’D expect the kids of a country town to back their homegrown AFL hero in a grand final, but in the case of Clare and the Crows’ Riley Knight, the support goes both ways.
Now 22, Knight still not only visits his home regularly, but gives something back as a mentor and example to country kids with big dreams to chase.
At St Joseph’s school, principal Peter Shearer says Knight was “a ripper kid” and that in his adulthood and sporting fame he “hasn’t forgotten where his roots are”.
Knight has been back to the school to give talks for Year 7s, but he also has undertaken one-one-one mentoring with one student who needed some help with direction in his studies and goals, something at which Mr Shearer says the footballer is a natural.
“You don’t have to ask Riley to do things like that, he’s just ready to do it,” Mr Shearer said on his way to Melbourne to watch the game with Knight’s parents, Rob and Mandy, and sisters Shae, 21, and Casey, 23.
Also going is Mr Shearer’s son, Isaac, 18, a good mate of the rising AFL star, and the tickets were organised by Knight himself.
He has become a firm friend of the educator and his family “although he still calls me Mr Shearer”.
One of Knight’s teachers, Briony Ackland, who took him for Japanese in Year 4, de- scribed Knight, a devoted Christian, as a young man of “great respect and dedication”.
A mature child “but with a great sense of fun” Knight the man had most impressed her with the way he had visited the school to “talk about values, things he hadn’t realised himself until he was much older”.
He told the present students of school memorabilia he had kept in “a memory” box, because he so valued the time he had spent at the school.
The Hawthorn-supporting teacher “will absolutely be going for the Crows” in the grand final, as will most of the kids, regardless of their club allegiances.
Among them, school captain Charlie Jones, 12, admires the star for “the way he strives for success through faith” SHANE Edwards is indebted to family and his inaugural Richmond skipper Kane Johnson for paving a journey from Golden Grove to the last Saturday in September.
Edwards, 28, is super close to his dad - former Central District star Greg - mum Tara and younger brother Kym.
“Before a game we mainly talk about everything other than footy before touching on it. We all love each other’s company,” said Greg Edwards, the youngest to boot 100 SANFL goals in 1982, the year Richmond last made a decider.
Shane said the support of family had been a crucial spur in what many thought was AFL’s mission impossible for the Tigers. “They are really proud. You know something pretty special is happening when they are up and about asking me heaps of questions.”
Greg Edwards remembers dual Adelaide premiership star Johnson introducing himself to Shane at his first Tigers club BBQ in 2006. Shane still has him on a pedestal 11 years on.
“He was captain of the club and a premiership hero back in Adelaide. I was that star struck when I first lived with him,” Shane said. PAGE 77: EDWARDS’ DREAM
RIPPER KID: Riley Knight in the grand final parade and, left, Year 7 students at St Joseph’s School in Clare.