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Newcastle Knights prop David Klemmer.

Newcastle made the fewest metres last season despite the herculean efforts of enforcer David Klemmer.

That lack of go-forward stifled their attacking weapons.

The Knights finished the year with 36,108 metres (1505m per game), with wooden spooners the Titans just edging them.

The competition average was 1589m per game, while the top-performing likes of the Storm, Roosters, Eels, Sea Eagles and Raiders averaged over 1600m per game.

Klemmer can't be accused of failing to set a platform as he recorded 3561m (169.5 per game) - the 10th-most in the competition in the regular season and the third-best total return of all props.

Departed winger Shaun Kenny-Dowall (3124m) was the only other Novocastrian to crack the top 50.

Concerningly, Klemmer was the lone Newcastle forward to average at least 100m per game - and he did it with a persistent wrist injury.

During their six-match winning streak (rounds 7-13), the Knights ran for more metres than their opponents on all but two occasions and regularly broke the 1600m barrier.

It's no coincidence that halfback and captain Mitchell Pearce was in imperious form in that period, contributing six try assists and five tries.

Gun fullback Kalyn Ponga bagged six tries and two try assists during those rounds.

The pair's impact was diminished as the Knights lost eight of their last 10 games to crash out of finals contention.

Tellingly, they lost the yardage battle in seven of those fixtures, with Pearce and Ponga managing a combined seven try assists and seven tries.

Five key match-ups of the Knights' 2020 draw

Newcastle were also outrun by their opponents in four of the opening six rounds; they won just one match in that period.

It's often said that a team's playmakers are only as effective as the forward pack they're playing behind - that rings especially true in this case.

Klemmer aside, Newcastle's big men must lift in order to consistently provide the dangerous Pearce and Ponga the time and space to operate in 2020.

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