The St George Illawarra Dragons and Newcastle Knights will play for the inaugural Alex McKinnon Cup at Hunter Stadium, Newcastle on Saturday.

McKinnon made his NRL debut at the Dragons in 2011 and went on to play three first-grade games before joining the Knights in 2012, where he made a further 46 appearances.

“I obviously spent a lot of time at the Dragons and cherish my time down there, I also really cherish my time playing first grade at the Knights,” said McKinnon.

“To see the game this weekend where my mates are playing on both sides, I am really looking forward to being there.

“It is a privilege to have a Cup named after myself and for the two clubs to be playing for it this weekend.”

The Alex McKinnon Cup will be an annual event and played for on the first occasion the two sides meet in a season.

“The Alex McKinnon Cup is a fitting way to recognise Alex’s contribution to both Clubs and will certainly add a special significance to not only this Saturday’s game, but future encounters between the Knights and Dragons,” said Knights CEO Matt Gidley.

The Alex McKinnon Cup is an initiative of the two Clubs the 23-year-old played for.

“The Dragons are proud to be working with the Newcastle Knights in the formation of such an appropriate initiative,” said Dragons CEO Peter Doust..

“Alex is a remarkable individual who has always had a close relationship with both our players and our Club.”

McKinnon, who will be in attendance at Saturday’s match, looks forward to seeing the winning team receive the Alex McKinnon Cup for the very first time.

“I watch a bit of footy but I definitely make sure I watch the Knights and the Dragons each weekend because a lot of my mates are playing,” said McKinnon.

“It will be a solid game on Saturday, I know it is always a good competition between the two sides.”