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Here is all you need to know about the Newcastle Knights' 2021 Telstra Premiership draw.

The Lowdown

Teams they play twice

Broncos, Bulldogs, Cowboys, Raiders, Roosters, Sharks, Tigers, Titans, Warriors

Teams they play once

Dragons, Eels, Panthers, Rabbitohs, Sea Eagles, Storm

Day-by-day breakdown

Thursday – 4, Friday – 5, Saturday – 10, Sunday – 5

Turnarounds

5 days – 2, 6 days – 8, 7+ days – 13

Kick-off

Newcastle will be confident of making a fast start out of the blocks with three of their first four games at home and their first five games coming against teams that missed the finals in 2020.

A first-up meeting with the Bulldogs is followed by a trip across the ditch to face the Warriors, ahead of home games against the Wests Tigers and Dragons.

Five key match-ups

Warriors (Round 2, Mt Smart Stadium; Round 15, McDonald Jones Stadium)

Former coach Nathan Brown will come up against his old club for the first time in the second week of the new season. The Warriors pulled off a stunning 36-6 win over the Knights in Tamworth in August after Newcastle had beaten them 20-0 to start the season.

The Warriors are an unpredictable opponent at the best of times but with a new coach in charge and a year after being based away from their families in another country anything is possible.  

Dragons (Round 4, McDonald Jones Stadium)

Star signing Tyson Frizell will go up against his former teammates for the first time when the Knights meet the Dragons in round four. Newcastle thrashed St George Illawarra 42-18 at Hunter Stadium last season.

Knights' top five tries of 2020

Titans (Round 5, Cbus Super Stadium; Round 24, McDonald Jones Stadium)

The Knights cost themselves a home final with a 36-6 loss to the Titans in the final round of the regular season, a match that may have begun a new rivalry between two of the rising forces in the Telstra Premiership.

Like Newcastle, the Gold Coast have recruited heavily of late with a group of young stars (including former Knights forward Herman Ese'ese) and look to be evolving from league cellar dwellers into genuine top-eight contenders.

Sea Eagles (Round 12; McDonald Jones Stadium)

A rivalry stretching back decades, Newcastle prevailed in two close battles with their old enemy last year, 14-12 at Brookvale and 26-24 at home. Manly were without superstar fullback Tom Trbojevic in both of those matches and will be a different proposition at full strength.

Rabbitohs (Round 14, ANZ Stadium)

Revenge will be on the minds of the Knights here. Souths ended Newcastle's season via a dominant 46-20 win in the opening week of the 2020 finals, the Knights leaking eight tries in that match.

The Bunnies are certainly beatable – Newcastle toppled them 20-18 in Sydney in round 10 – but the Knights' defence will need to be much improved when the two teams face off in June.

Toughest stretch

Newcastle face a tricky stretch from round five with matches against a much-improved Titans side (away) before taking on the Sharks, Panthers, Roosters and Raiders.

There's another tough run of games following State of Origin III, with matches against top-four candidates the Storm, Roosters and Raiders in successive weeks between round 18 and round 20.

Better. Faster. Stronger.

And another thing ...

On paper, the Knights have one of the friendlier draws in the league, with just six of their 24 matches against teams that played finals football in 2020.

Of course the game isn't played on paper and several teams will be tougher next year than they were this season, but all things being equal there's every reason for Newcastle to be pushing for a top-four finish rather than settling for a spot in the eight in 2021.

 

You can download the full 2021 Premiership draw or your team’s schedule directly to your calendar with eCal. Download it now.