Crowd rallies for injured Newcastle Knights player Alex McKinnon

HOME: Newcastle Knights skipper Kurt Gidley wheels injured teammate Alex McKinnon onto the field at Hunter Stadium.

HOME: Newcastle Knights skipper Kurt Gidley wheels injured teammate Alex McKinnon onto the field at Hunter Stadium.

THEY may not have won on the field, but off-field it was smiles all round for the Newcastle Knights at the weekend.

Newcastle lost to the Gold Coast Titans 22-8 at Hunter Stadium on Sunday.

However, the result was secondary for the Knights, who celebrated injured teammate Alex McKinnon's return to home soil for the NRL's "Rise For Alex" round.

The 22-year-old from Aberdeen broke his neck in a horror tackle against the Melbourne Storm in March.

It was an emotional appearance for McKinnon, who shed a few tears for the faith and dedication his team and home town have shown during his recovery.

The 26,401-strong crowd helped raise $30,000 from match ticket sales for the Alex McKinnon fund, which was established to help the back-rower.

The fund has tipped $1.1 million.

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