Newcastle Knights’ Robbie Rochow. Making your NRL debut for your local team, who you supported as a boy, against their most hated rivals, in front of a home crowd – and getting a win.

Surely it doesn’t get any better than that.

The Newcastle Knights’ Robbie Rochow realised a childhood dream on Saturday night when he took to the field at Hunter Stadium in the Knights’ 32-6 upset win over reigning NRL premiers Manly.

“Yeah it was awesome, I loved it,” Rochow said.

“I was pretty excited, playing in front of a big home crowd is something I’ve never really done being down in Melbourne [with the Storm’s Toyota Cup team] for so long.

“Especially with my family all being there, I supported the Knights growing up as well so it was pretty special.”

Rochow made a strong debut off the bench, playing 37 minutes and making seven runs for 63 metres gained along with 17 tackles.

The bulk of the 20,000 crowd gave Rochow a thunderous reception when he entered the game and the East Maitland Griffins junior was happy to have made an impact.

“I knew I wasn’t going to get too many minutes so I just wanted to make the most of it,” Rochow said.

“Wayne (coach Wayne Bennett) asked me to bring some enthusiasm and he said he was happy with my performance.”

The giant forward has missed eight weeks this season with two bulging discs in his back, delaying his first grade debut since his off season move back home from the Melbourne Storm.

Rochow hopes to receive more chances in first grade towards the back end of the season and was certain he would make the most of them.

“My goal for this year was to play NRL for the Knights and now that I’ve done that I just want to do my best each week,” Rochow said.

“If I can stay on the field and be consistent coming off the bench in the NRL, that’s what I’m aiming for.”

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