With Newcastle finally confirming the highly-anticipated signing of star Blues and Kangaroos prop David Klemmer from Canterbury, NRL.com Stats has crunched the numbers to work out just how big of an impact he may have in 2019.
Making the metres
The Knights middles in 2018 didn't exactly lay a huge platform for their halves and outside backs.
Their No.8, 10 and 13 jerseys finished 12th, eighth and 10th respectively in the competition for metres while their interchange was 15th in the NRL for metres per game.
Canterbury had their struggles but their No.10 jersey made more metres than any other team's largely off the back of Klemmer who finished the season averaging 181 metres per game – the best of any forward and fourth best of any player.
A huge part of Klemmer's incredible run metres stat was an ability to keep powering forward after meeting the defence.
Klemmer's 75 post-contact metres per game was second in the NRL after Jason Taumalolo (75.8m); Newcastle's best was Herman Ese'ese (44.4 per game).
Klemmer averaged just over four post-contactmetres percarry; the best of the Knights was Dan Saifiti's 3.53m.
Klemmer explains why he needed a fresh start
Adding value with offloads
Offloading was not a big part of Nathan Brown's game plan in 2018; the Knights offloaded less than any team other than the Cowboys with just 169 for the season at seven per game.
They consequently finished 15th per game in metres made from offloads at 34.7. Yet even when they did offload they didn't profit as much as other sides, finishing a distant last for average metres gained per offload at 6.9 – the next lowest in the NRL was 7.2 (North Queensland) with every other club gaining at least 7.9 extra metres for every offload.
Their best offloader was Mitch Barnett who gained just 114 total extra metres across the season at 6.4m per offload.
Klemmer isn't prolific in the department, averaging just over one offload per game, but he was still well clear of any Knights player with a total of 177 extra metres created at 8.0 per offload.
Klemmer finished comfortably top in the NRL when it came to attracting defenders with his carries; 75% of the time three or more players were required to halt his momentum while he was finished off one-on-one on just 1% of his carries.
The was comfortably ahead of the NRL's next-best, Martin Taupau (71% and 6%) and well clear of Newcastle's best, Daniel Saifiti (58% and 3%).
Bringing in three or more tacklers on the vast majority of carries compresses the defensive line and creates space out wide. It was a huge part of South Sydney's improvement in 2018 and their 2014 Telstra Premiership win and will go a long way towards helping the likes of Mitch Pearce and Kalyn Ponga work their magic.
David Klemmer's 2018 season highlights
Size and fear factor
Outside the clearly impressive numbers Klemmer put up at NRL level in 2018, he was also a powerhouse at rep level for the Blues and Kangaroos.
He's also huge – at 198 centimetres only Melbourne's Nelson Asofa-Solomona (200cm) and Parramatta's Kane Evans (199cm) stretch the tape measure higher than the 116kg Origin prop in the NRL.
Unsurprisingly that makes him the new big dog in the Knights pack, ahead of 2018's largest player Daniel Saifiti (195cm and 121kg).
There are few more intimidating sights in the game than a fired-up Klemmer charging off the back fence and the lift that will give the rest of the improving young squad can't be underestimated.