The Newcastle Knights have fallen on hard times since their stunning exploits in the early years of the NRL.
The club still missed finals in 2018, but 11th place is nothing to sneer at after three consecutive wooden spoons.
Can Nathan Brown’s men crack into the top eight this year? Let’s see where they sit with the bookies in the outright betting for NRL 2019.
About the Newcastle Knights
|Home ground:||McDonald Jones Stadium|
|Captains:||Jamie Buhrer and Mitchell Pearce|
|Premierships:||Two – 1997, 2001|
|2018 ladder finish:||11th (9-15)|
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Updated Newcastle Knights futures odds
Top NRL odds for the Knights come courtesy of Sportsbet, where new punters can pocket up to $501 in bonus bets upon joining. Sign up now for free.
|2019 Premiership||Make Finals||Make Top 4||Dally M Odds|
|Jan||$17||$1.85||$4.55||K Ponga $7|
|Feb||$15||$1.80||$4||K Ponga $7|
Best Newcastle Knights bets for NRL 2019
There are dozens of NRL futures markets for Newcastle, but where are they likely to return some real value?
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- The Knights showed plenty of improvement last year, but not enough to crack finals. Although they should be in or around the top eight in 2019, it is far too soon to start talking about premierships.
- If Nathan Brown is to keep his job, Newcastle have to be better again this year. That means finals footy, which the Knights have not tasted since 2013. Bottom half of the eight is a very realistic goal.
- After a breakout debut season at McDonald Jones Stadium, Kalyn Ponga starts the 2019 NRL season as the runaway favourite in Dally M Medal betting. Who are we to argue?
2019 Newcastle Knights draw
|1||Cronulla Sharks||McDonald Jones Stadium||Friday, March 15||6pm|
|2||Penrith Panthers||McDonald Jones Stadium||Saturday, March 23||5:30pm|
|3||Canberra Raiders||GIO Stadium||Friday, March 29||6pm|
|4||St George Illawarra Dragons||McDonald Jones Stadium||Sunday, April 7||6:10pm|
|5||Manly Sea Eagles||McDonald Jones Stadium||Saturday, April 13||5:30pm|
|6||Gold Coast Titans||Cbus Super Stadium||Sunday, April 21||2pm|
|7||Parramatta Eels||McDonald Jones Stadium||Sunday, April 28||4:05pm|
|8||New Zealand Warriors||Mt Smart Stadium||Sunday, May 5||2pm|
|9||Canterbury Bulldogs||Suncorp Stadium||Saturday, May 11||3pm|
|10||St George Illawarra Dragons||Glen Willow Oval||Sunday, May 19||2pm|
|11||Sydney Roosters||McDonald Jones Stadium||Friday, May 24||7:55pm|
|13||South Sydney Rabbitohs||ANZ Stadium||Friday, June 12||6pm|
|14||Melbourne Storm||AAMI Park||Saturday, June 15||3pm|
|15||Brisbane Broncos||McDonald Jones Stadium||Saturday, June 29||5:30pm|
|16||New Zealand Warriors||McDonald Jones Stadium||Saturday, July 6||7:35pm|
|17||Canterbury Bulldogs||McDonald Jones Stadium||Friday, July 12||7:55pm|
|18||Sydney Roosters||Sydney Cricket Ground||Saturday, July 20||3pm|
|19||Wests Tigers||McDonald Jones Stadium||Friday, July 26||6pm|
|20||Manly Sea Eagles||Lottoland||Saturday, August 3||3pm|
|21||Parramatta Eels||Bankwest Stadium||Saturday, August 10||5:30pm|
|22||North Queensland Cowboys||McDonald Jones Stadium||Saturday, August 17||3pm|
|23||Wests Tigers||Campbelltown Stadium||Saturday, August 24||5:30pm|
|24||Gold Coast Titans||McDonald Jones Stadium||Saturday, August 31||3pm|
|25||Penrith Panthers||Panthers Stadium||Sunday, September 8||4:05pm|
Knights players to watch in 2019
Position: Fullback, five-eighth
Ponga was outstanding at fullback in his first season with the Knights, but it looks like he will spend a lot more time in the halves in 2019. No matter where he lines up, the WA-born youngster is Newcastle’s most dangerous player and a deserving favourite for the Dally M.
A pectoral injury limited Pearce to only 15 games in his first season at Newcastle, so he will want to make a serious impact in 2019. If he and Ponga settle in well together, the Knights might have one of the best halves pairings in the league.
Moga had played only four games for his new club when he ruptured his ACL for the fourth time. The Samoa rep might not be ready for round one, but he will provide a big injection of class to Newcastle’s back half whenever he does return.
Newcastle Knights records and stats
- Most games: 257 – Danny Buderus
Most career points: 2176 – Andrew Johns
Most career tries: 110 – Akuila Uate
Most points in a season: 279 – Andrew Johns (2001)
Most tries in a season: 21 – Timana Tahu (2002) and Akuila Uate (2010)
- Most consecutive wins: 11 (2001-02)
Most consecutive losses: 19 (2016-17)
Highest score: 70-32 (vs. Raiders, 2006)
Biggest winning margin: 60-0 (vs. Rabbitohs, 1999)
Biggest losing margin: 6-71 (vs. Broncos, 2007)
Largest NRL attendance: 32,642 (vs. Sea Eagles, 1995)
- Newcastle’s rugby league story is much, much older than the Knights. The city was home to one of the nine clubs that founded the NSW Rugby Football League way back in 1908. However, the Newcastle Rebels left the competition after only two seasons when most of their homegrown talent jumped ship to play in a new local league.
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.
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