Here is all you need to know about the Newcastle Knights' 2022 Telstra Premiership draw.
Teams they play twice
Panthers, Sea Eagles, Roosters, Titans, Sharks, Raiders, Wests Tigers, Broncos, Bulldogs
Teams they play once
Storm, Rabbitohs, Eels, Dragons, Warriors, Cowboys
Thursday 2; Friday 5; Saturday 6; Sunday 11.
A Saturday afternoon SCG clash against the Roosters kicks off the Knights' 2022 campaign before returning home for a Sunday meeting with the Tigers, a trip to Bathurst to face the Panthers and a Friday twilight clash in Cronulla to round out an opening month in which a 2-2 split would be acceptable. Should they win three of the four then Adam O'Brien's men will have made an early statement.
Top 10 tries for 2021: Knights
On paper, the Knights could do it tough the whole way through the Origin period, depending partly on which teams are most affected by selections, with five games out of six against top-eight sides from last year. They face the Panthers at home in round 14 then travel to Canberra, before a run of mostly home games against the Titans, Rabbitohs, Sea Eagles (away) and Roosters.
Make it count
Straight after that tough patch, which finishes in round 19, the Knights have a golden opportunity to string some wins together and make a charge for the finals. They have six straight games against teams that finished below them last year, with half those games at home. None of them are freebies but it's a stretch where Newcastle really needs to bank at least four or five wins if they're serious about the 2022 finals.
Best finishes: Ponga comes up big for Newcastle
Storyline to watch
How will Newcastle go without Mitchell Pearce if the veteran halfback gains a release? The Knights have a poor record without the 309-gamer and if they can’t land on a solid halves combination they may slip off the pace early. Newcastle’s attack struggled in 2021 to average 17.8 points per game but Dane Gagai’s arrival will only add further spark to the side’s backline.