Here is all you need to know about the Newcastle Knights' revised 2020 Telstra Premiership draw.
Teams they play twice
Storm, Wests Tigers, Sea Eagles, Cowboys, Warriors.
Teams they play once
Panthers, Raiders, Broncos, Eels, Rabbitohs, Bulldogs, Sharks, Roosters, Dragons, Titans.
Thursday - 1 games, Friday - 2, Saturday - 7, Sunday - 10
Back-to-back Campbelltown games against the Panthers and Raiders provides a stern but not insurmountable challenge to kick off, followed by two "home" games at Gosford against the Storm and Broncos.
Five key match-ups
Sea Eagles (Round 8, Central Coast Stadium; Round 14, Venue TBC): 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.
The best are coming back
Panthers (Round 3, Campbelltown 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 suspended Cleary won't be in action next week but the Knights will still be out for revenge.
Dragons (Round 19, Venue TBC): Few will forget the Corey Norman field goal which sunk the Knights 13-12 in round four 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 exact revenge in round 10 to the tune of 45-12.
Roosters (Round 18, Venue TBC): This may be Mitchell Pearce's third season away from the Roosters, but it's the first season for Trent Robinson's former right-hand man Adam O'Brien against his old club. There's still a handful of ex-Roosters there including Connor Watson and Aidan Guerra. The Knights trounced the Roosters 38-12 during 2019 in 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.
Titans (Round 20, Venue TBC): Even with Newcastle's horror losing run from rounds 16 to 21 last year that cost them a finals chance, the nadir of their season was the round-six collapse against the struggling Titans. They extracted a modicum of revenge with a big round 24 win but the season was over for both by then. The fact this takes place in the final round, with the Titans not tipped to make a big dent on the 2020 competition, means there should be a gettable two points on offer that could make the difference to the Knights' finals hopes.
It's game on
Almost the first half of Newcastle's draw is pretty challenging. From round four's Canberra clash to round 10's meeting with Souths, every team they face played finals last season barring the round-seven meeting with North Queensland in Townsville. The Knights will need to win at least three of those seven games to stay within striking distance for a gentler run home.
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