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.
|2018 Premiership||Make Finals||Make Top 4||Dally M Odds||Top Tryscorer Odds|
|Mar||$31||$2.50||$6.50||M Pearce – $21||N Ross – $34|
|Apr||$51||$2.30||$6||K Ponga – $9||L Fitzgibbon – $51|
|May||$101||$3.75||$17||K Ponga – $4.25||L Fitzgibbon – $101|
|Jun||$151||$4.50||$26||K Ponga – $3.75||L Fitzgibbon – $81|
|Jul||$151||$4.50||$26||K Ponga – $3.75||L Fitzgibbon – $81|
|Aug||$1001||$81||N/A||K Ponga – $3||N/A|
|Sep||N/A||N/A||N/A||K Ponga – $4.50||N/A|
Best Newcastle Knights bets for NRL 2018
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:
- Let’s be real: Newcastle are coming off a hat-trick of wooden spoons and will finish well shy of the genuine contenders in 2018. It might be a different story in two or three years’ time, but the Knights have to focus on climbing out of the cellar before they can even think about opening a premiership window.
- Although Newcastle finished dead last again in 2017, there were obvious signs of improvement. Heavy recruitment in all areas has pundits whispering about a potential push for finals footy. Much will depend on how the likes of Pearce, Ponga and Moga gel in new surroundings, but the Knights could well jag seventh or eighth place as the best of the mid-table teams.
- Marquee recruit Mitchell Pearce is Newcastle’s best bet for the Dally M, but it would take something extra special for the ex-Rooster to upstage Jason Taumalolo, Cameron Smith, et al. However, he will be in the mix for the halfback slot in the Dally M Team of the Year.
- Nathan Ross’ output tapered off as 2017 wore on, but the fan favourite should a real threat this year with more quality around him. Young fullback Kalyn Ponga is another to consider.
2018 Newcastle Knights draw
|1||Manly Sea Eagles||McDonald Jones Stadium||Friday, March 9||6pm|
|2||Canberra Raiders||GIO Stadium||Sunday, March 18||6:30pm|
|3||Sydney Roosters||Allianz Stadium||Sunday, March 25||6:30pm|
|4||St George Illawarra Dragons||WIN Stadium||Sunday, April 1||4:10pm|
|5||Brisbane Broncos||McDonald Jones Stadium||Saturday, April 7||7:35pm|
|6||Melbourne Storm||AAMI Park||Friday, April 13||6pm|
|7||Wests Tigers||Scully Park||Saturday, April 21||5:30pm|
|8||Manly Sea Eagles||Lottoland||Friday, April 27||6pm|
|9||South Sydney Rabbitohs||McDonald Jones Stadium||Friday, May 4||6pm|
|10||Penrith Panthers||McDonald Jones Stadium||Friday, May 11||6pm|
|11||Gold Coast Titans||Cbus Super Stadium||Saturday, May 19||3pm|
|12||Cronulla Sharks||McDonald Jones Stadium||Sunday, May 27||2pm|
|13||Parramatta Eels||ANZ Stadium||Saturday, June 2||7:35pm|
|14||Sydney Roosters||McDonald Jones Stadium||Saturday, June 9||5:30pm|
|15||Melbourne Storm||McDonald Jones Stadium||Sunday, June 17||2pm|
|16||Canterbury Bulldogs||McDonald Jones Stadium||Saturday, June 30||5:30pm|
|18||Parramatta Eels||McDonald Jones Stadium||Friday, July 13||7:50pm|
|19||Gold Coast Titans||McDonald Jones Stadium||Saturday, July 21||3pm|
|20||North Queensland Cowboys||1300SMILES Stadium||Friday, July 27||6pm|
|21||Wests Tigers||McDonald Jones Stadium||Friday, August 3||6pm|
|22||New Zealand Warriors||Mt Smart Stadium||Friday, August 10||6pm|
|23||Penrith Panthers||Panthers Stadium||Saturday, August 18||3pm|
|24||Cronulla Sharks||Southern Cross Stadium||Sunday, August 26||2pm|
|25||St George Illawarra Dragons||McDonald Jones Stadium||Saturday, September 1||3pm|
Knights players to watch in 2018
Pearce was the odd man out at the Sydney Roosters once they secured the signature of Cooper Cronk. Now the NSW halfback has the tricky task of adjusting to a new environment while taking on all the extra pressures and responsibilities that come with the captaincy. His efforts will be central to Newcastle’s fortunes in 2018.
Is there a more exciting young player in the country? Newcastle leapt at the chance to sign Ponga when his North Queensland contract expired at the end of 2017. Pace, power, agility, guile, vision – the West Australian youngster has all the components of a great fullback.
With four clubs to his name already, Moga is a certified journeyman at the ripe old age of 24. That is not to say he isn’t a quality operator. Along with Pearce and Ponga, the Samoa representative adds considerable class to Newcastle’s new-look back half.
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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