Veteran rugby league administrator John Quayle says privatisation will continue to be a part of the NRL despite Newcastle owner Nathan Tinkler's continued financial woes.
On Thursday, the Australian Tax Office applied for the Knights to be wound up due to unpaid debts of $1.4 million according to documents filed in the Federal Court.
The move follows continued speculation over Tinkler's money problems and his ownership of the NRL club.
It continues an uneasy run with private ownership for rugby league with Michael Searle's time as owner of the Gold Coast a failure, both Melbourne's and Manly's struggles under privatisation and uncertainty over South Sydney's future after part-owner Russell Crowe's decision to quit his share in the Rabbitohs at the end of the 2013 season.
But Quayle said private ownership in rugby league would not die.
"The Tinkler situation is especially disappointing given the game has just started a new era," Quayle said.
"But I don't think it will disappear.
"This is not the first time we have seen this kind of thing in sport in Australia. What you have to remember is that Tinkler saved the Knights.
"You have to look at the positives. I think one of the main points is that you have to ensure that there are provisions in place and that you do not completely hand the licence over without those."
A $20 million bank guarantee was a condition of Tinkler's Hunter Sports Group's privatisation of the Knights.
Quayle said the game's governing body the ARL Commission needed to ensure that such strict restrictions continued to be a condition of private ownership.
"Whoever ensured that bank guarantee was doing their job and ensuring that things would not go wrong with private ownership of the Knights under Tinkler," the long-time general manager of the NSWRL said.
"That guarantee means the club's future is secure. The NRL needs to ensure that each time a licence is handed over it is done so with similar guarantees in place."
Quayle is the chairman of Venues NSW, which the Knights still owe around $600,000 for the lease of their home ground Hunter Stadium, another matter that is currently before the courts.
Hunter Sports Group issued a statement saying that the monies owed to the ATO would be paid as soon as possible.
Knights chief executive Matt Gidley said: "We are looking forward to regrouping after the Christmas break and looking forward to a positive 2013 on and off the field."