Stephen Oliver Knight
- 532Wallaby Number
Stephen Knight was a man mountain of a centre who had the rugby world at his feet before he switched codes to play rugby league. Shy and unassuming off the field, Knight was full throttle aggression on it. His teammates referred to him as “Atlas” because he was so big and strong, and his physique dictated everything he did. When Knight took the ball he ran hard and straight at pace to spread-eagle opposition defences. Knight also used his size to great advantage when in defence and as a consequence he was a punishing tackler.
Born and raised in Sydney, Knight was educated at Manly Boys' High School and played his club rugby for Manly. In 1969, and aged just 20, Knight hit the representative scene with a bang. On debut for Sydney he scored two tries from the wing against Victoria and then in his first game for New South Wales bagged a double against Queensland. Within a month he was selected for the Wallaby tour to South Africa. Following a nasty knee injury to Phil Smith in the 1st Test, Knight was named to make his debut in the 2nd Test at King’s Park, Durban. The selectors brought in Rupert Rosenblum at fly half for the 3rd Test and shifted John Ballesty and Barry Honan out one spot however Knight returned for the 4th Test, arguably the best match he ever played for Australia. Having already lost the series the Wallabies decided to throw caution to the wind and Knight led the charge. For the first time on the tour his cleaving midfield bursts had the Springbok defence at panic stations. Australia may well have won that Test but for four missed penalty goals.
Knight returned to Australia where he played against Scotland and then South Africa in the demonstration-laden tour of 1971 before he switched codes to play rugby league with Western Suburbs. Once again it did not take Knight long to make an impact and by the end of his first year was chosen for the Kangaroos’ World Cup side to become a dual international.
Steve Knight played six Tests for Australia in a three-year international career.
Knight won his first Test cap at outside centre in partnership with Barry Honan in the 2nd Test, 9-16 loss to South Africa in Durban. He picked up a second cap, and scored his first Test try, at outside centre alongside Honan in the 4th Test, 8-19 loss to South Africa in Bloemfontein.
Knight paired with Geoff Shaw in the centres for the 23-3 victory over Scotland at the S.C.G.
Knight and Shaw combined in each of the three home Tests against South Africa.