Here is all you need to know about the Newcastle Knights' 2020 Telstra Premiership draw.
Teams they play twice
Warriors, Tigers, Sharks, Cowboys, Sea Eagles, Panthers, Rabbitohs, Broncos, Bulldogs.
Teams they play once
Raiders, Dragons, Roosters, Storm, Titans, Eels.
Thursday – 2, Friday – 2, Saturday – 10, Sunday – 10.
1 (Round 10).
Last season the Knights had three home games in their opening four rounds, but only won one. Next year they'll be hoping for a better start as they host the Warriors and Cowboys, and travel to Sydney for the Wests Tigers and Sharks.
Five key match-ups
Warriors (Round 1, McDonald Jones Stadium; Round 21, Mt Smart Stadium): Losing at home to the Warriors in round 16 (24-20) started a six-match slide, which pushed them out of the top eight. They were sixth on the ladder heading into the Warriors game at McDonald Jones Stadium – after winning seven of their previous eight – but complacency gripped the Knights as the Auckland-based visitors were ranked five places lower on the ladder.
Sea Eagles (Round 5, Lottoland; Round 22, McDonald Jones Stadium): There's been a fair bit of player traffic between these two over the years (Ben Kennedy, Akuila Uate, Jamie Buhrer, Josh Perry to name a few), which always adds to the intrigue. They played only once in 2019 with Manly embarrassing them six tries-to-one at Lottoland in Round 20.
Panthers (Round 7, McDonald Jones Stadium; Round 13, Panthers Stadium): The Lottoland capitulation had nothing on what Penrith handed out in the last round of the year – a 54-10 win, where Nathan Cleary scored four tries and kicked nine-from-nine. The Knights will be stewing on that result as they sweat out the pre-season.
Dragons (Round 9, McDonald Jones Stadium): Few will forget the Corey Norman field goal which sunk the Knights 13-12 in Round 4 after Nathan Brown's team led 10-8 at half-time. It was the Knights' third straight loss and hit a nerve. The fact Mitchell Pearce missed three field-goal attempts must burn as well. Newcastle did extract revenge in round 10 (45-12).
Roosters (Round 10, SCG): This may be Mitchell Pearce's third season away from the Roosters, but the retirement of Cooper Cronk opens up that wound once again. There's still a handful of ex-Roosters there with him even with the exit of Shaun Kenny-Dowall. The Knights trounced the Roosters 38-12 during 2019 (Round 13), when Joey Manu and Cooper Cronk were rested and Luke Keary was knocked out. They met again seven weeks later and were soundly beaten (by 38 points) at the SCG. Adam O'Brien's – Trent Robinson's former right-hand man – arrival in the Hunter adds another layer in 2020.
Rounds 10-14. The Knights only meet benchmark-teams Roosters and Storm once in 2020 but they come in this cluster of five games, along with the Sharks, Rabbitohs and Panthers.
And another thing
For the round 12 match against the Rabbitohs, at least South Sydney might be without two of their strike players in NSW hooker Damien Cook and lock Cameron Murray ... possibly even five-eighth Cody Walker.