It?s all in a Knight?s work
By Steve Spinks
When Milton Thaiday last played with Northern Rivers in the NSW Country Divisional Championships in 2001 they won the title.
He was a certainty to be picked again this year for today's match against Northern Division at Oakes Oval, which will act as a curtain-raiser for the City versus Country match.
But only weeks before the championship, the talented utility back was picked up by the injury stricken Newcastle Knights.
In 2001, Thaiday was then an unknown skinny youngster with the now defunct Lismore Workers club.
After that dazzling year, the explosive fullback was picked up by the NSW Waratahs rugby team.
He had an up and down three year career with the Waratahs which ended when he admitted he had a problem with alcohol.
He returned to Lismore at the end of last year to play with the Ballina Seagulls in the newly formed Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League competition.
Thaiday was in exceptional form with Ballina and was selected in the Northern Rivers side and it seemed a good omen.
Until the Knights stepped in.
But Northern Rivers coach Jamie Mathiou is not too disappointed.
"At the end of the day you want blokes to progress to bigger and better things," Mathiou said.
"I just wished him good luck ... it would have been silly to say you can't go.
"He actually came to me and told me a week before he signed and I appreciated that."
Mathiou has had further disruptions during the week with more than six players being ruled out of the team due to injury.
But he still expects Northern Rivers to be very competitive.
"With any representative team you don't get much time together," he said.
"The blokes we've brought in are very capable players."
Mathiou admits he doesn't know much about the Northern Division team, which was a semifinalist last year in the championships.
"I know they're going to be one of the teams to beat," he said.
"Their strength is going to be their forward pack.
"Matt Parsons (former Newcastle Knights prop) is a very big man with a good offload so we'll have to try and negate that."