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The Newcastle Knights have fallen on hard times since their stunning exploits in the early years of the NRL.
The Knights ended their finals drought at last in 2020, although they couldn’t make it past the first week of the postseason.
Can Newcastle climb the ladder in 2021? Let’s see where they sit with the bookies in the latest NRL outright betting markets.
|Home ground:||McDonald Jones Stadium|
|Premierships:||Two – 1997, 2001|
|2020 ladder finish:||Seventh (11-1-8)|
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|2021 Premiership||Make Finals||Top Point Scorer||Top Try Scorer|
|Feb||$21||$2.10||K. Ponga – $17||E. Lee – $41|
There are dozens of NRL futures markets for Newcastle, but where are they likely to return some real value?
Click on the tabs below to get more analysis on these markets:
|1||Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs||McDonald Jones Stadium||Friday, March 12||6:00pm|
|2||New Zealand Warrirors||Central Coast Stadium||Friday, March 19||6:00pm|
|3||West Tigers||McDonald Jones Stadium||Sunday, March 28||4:05pm|
|4||St George Illawarra Dragons||McDonald Jones Stadium||Sunday, April 4||4:05pm|
|5||Gold Coast Titans||CBUS Super Stadium||Saturday, April 10||3:00pm|
|6||Cronulla Sharks||McDonalds Jones Stadium||Friday, April 16||6:00pm|
|7||Penrith Panthers||Panthers Stadium||Thursday, April 22||7:50pm|
|8||Sydney Roosters||Suncorp Stadium||Saturday, May 1||7:35pm|
|9||Canberra Raiders||McDonalds Park||Saturday, May 8||3:00pm|
|10||West Tigers||Suncorp Stadium||Friday, May 14||6:00pm|
|11||North Queensland Cowboys||Queensland Country Bank Stadium||Thursday, May 20||7:50pm|
|12||Manly Sea Eagles||McDonald Jones Stadium||Sunday, May 30||4:05pm|
|13||Parramatta Eels||McDonald Jones Stadium||Sunday, June 6||4:05pm|
|14||South Sydney Rabbtiohs||Stadium Australia/td>||Saturday, June 12||5:30pm|
|15||New Zealand Warriors||McDonald Jones Stadium||Saturday, June 19||3:00pm|
|16||North Queensland Cowboys||McDonald Jones Stadium||Saturday, July, 3||7:35pm|
|18||Melbourne Storm||AAMI Park||Saturday, July 17||7:35pm|
|19||Sydney Roosters||Sydney Cricket Ground||Friday, July 23||6:00pm|
|20||Canberra Raiders||McDonald Jones Stadium||Saturday, July 31||5:30pm|
|21||Brisbane Broncos||McDonald Jones Stadium||Thursday, August 5||7:50pm|
|22||Cronulla Sharks||Netstrata Jubilee Stadium||Sunday, August 15||4:05pm|
|23||Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs||Stadium Australia||Saturday, August 22||5:30pm|
|24||Gold Coast Titans||McDonald Jones Stadium||Thurday, August 26||7:50pm|
|25||Brisbane Broncos||Suncorp Stadium||Saturday, September 4||3:00pm|
Ponga could play anywhere in the back half, but his influence from fullback was highlighted two years ago when he scored 11 tries in the space of 12 starts, then follows it up with 10 tries, 14 try assists, 112 tackle breaks and 12 line breaks in 19 games last year. A full campaign from the WA-born star will put the Knights right in the mix for another finals spot.
Mitchell Pearce will be wanting to come out and prove himself this season after being stuck in the headlines all throughout the off season. They will still be looking to Mitchell Pearce to lead the team even without captaincy in his name. Expect him to come out firing to push the knights back into the top eight.
This 19 year old has secured himself a starting spot in the Newcastle Knights squad. Best dominated his junior competition in 2019 scoring seven tries in five games to earn him a call up to start the 2020 season in the NRL. Bradman scored eight tries in his 11 appearances and will be looking at following it up with an even bigger season with the New South Wales jersey in his sights. Will be one to watch this year.
Although Sydneysiders regarded it as a second-rate competition, the Newcastle Rugby League soon became one of Australia’s strongest regional sporting divisions. It fielded a number of successful representative teams throughout the 20th century, several of which were good enough to beat touring sides from interstate and overseas. League legends Clive Churchill, John Sattler, Les Johns and Johnny Graves all played in Newcastle, while NSW and Kangaroos hero Wally Prigg spent his entire club career there.
As the NSWRL began to expand in the 1960s, talk arose of a new team based in the Hunter Region. However, clubs and league administrators in Newcastle worried that such a move would diminish the value and status of their own competition. They declined an invitation to enter a side in the NSWRL in 1982, which led to the foundation of the Canberra Raiders instead.
It was a different story a few years later when nationwide expansion became inevitable. In 1988, the Newcastle Knights joined the Sydney first-grade competition along with the Brisbane Broncos and the Gold Coast-Tweed Giants. The team was an instant hit with rugby league fans in country NSW and took only three seasons to reach the playoffs.
The Knights’ popularity was highlighted during and after the Super League wars of the mid-1990s, when the rival Hunter Mariners franchise came and went within a matter of years. It helped that Newcastle won the Australian Rugby League title in 1997 with the assistance of a handy little footballer by the name of Andrew Johns, who would go on to win three Dally M Player of the Year awards.
The red and blue have endured a few ups and downs since those heady days. A drugs scandal tarnished their success of the late ’90s, while the city as a whole fell on hard times after the closure of the BHP Steelworks. Even the 2011 signing of Queensland super-coach Wayne Bennett could not inspire the Knights to glory. Three wooden spoons later, the only way is up for Newcastle.