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Knights sign Ben Jeffries as NRLW coach in much anticipated move from Cowboys

Jarred Cross -

Former women's Indigenous All Stars coach Ben Jeffries will take the reins at Newcastle in 2024 with the back-to-back premiers confirming his appointment as NRLW head coach on Monday.

Whispers of a potential move to the Knights began in mid-December with the Murrawarri man departing his position as inaugural NRLW coach at North Queensland amid speculation of a switch.

In a brief statement on December 15, the Cowboys confirmed they had released Jeffries from his contract effective immediately.

It came after just one year in the job.

According to reports, the Knights had already circled on the former PNG Orchids coach front of the pack to fill the vacant position left by dual-premiership coach and Gommeroi man Ronald Griffiths who had moved to coach Newcastle's NSW Cup side.

The Knights confirmed the appointment on Monday.

Jeffries has signed a three-year contract with the club.

"Ben provides us with what we were looking for and we have no doubt the Knights NRLW program will continue to grow under his coaching," club director of football Peter Parr said.

"Ben is an accomplished coach, with a proven track record in pathways programs," Parr said.

"This role requires a multi-faceted skill set, as we continue to strive for success on the field, in conjunction with further developing a gold standard pathways program.

"Ben provides us with what we were looking for and we have no doubt the Knights NRLW program will continue to grow under his coaching."

Jeffries played a 13-year professional rugby league career starting with a short stint at St George-Illawarra before spending the bulk of his playing days in the UK after his final two years in the NRL with the Tigers.

He retired at the end of the 2012 season.

Jeffries in 2002 with Wests Tigers. (Image: AAP)

Jeffries already boasts representative coaching experience with the women's Indigenous All Stars in 2020 before taking the head coach role with the PNG national side.

He had previously served as an under-20's coach and in other roles at North Queensland.

The latest move is a return to Newcastle after the Forster-raised talent spent time at the club in the lower-levels in his youth.

The Cowboys are yet to name their head coach for the 2024 season.

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