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Here is all you need to know about the Newcastle Knights ahead of the 2022 Telstra Premiership season.

The Lowdown


Newcastle replicated their 2020 efforts of making the finals for the first time in seven years with another seventh-place finish in 2021. The ingredients are there to improve but can they find another gear?

Possible best 17

1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Enari Tuala 3. Dane Gagai 4. Bradman Best 5. Hymel Hunt 6. Jake Clifford 7. Adam Clune 8. Daniel Saifiti 9. Jayden Brailey 10. David Klemmer 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 12. Tyson Frizell 13. Mitchell Barnett. Interchange: 14. Kurt Mann 15. Jacob Saifiti 16. Sauaso Sue 17. Brodie Jones.

Ponga: 'The carrot is winning a premiership'

Key changes

Mitchell Pearce's departure is arguably the biggest exit at the club since they scraped themselves off the bottom of the ladder in 2018.

Only time will tell how much the side misses their former halfback in attack but the addition of Adam Clune should provide some relief.

Connor Watson's move to the Roosters also leaves them lacking a bit of spark around the ruck with Kurt Mann likely to play a utility role off the bench.

Dane Gagai's return to the club will provide another point of difference in attack, an area the Knights have lacked more recently.

Pre-season insights: New faces and 2022 goals

Health check

Newcastle has a few concerns leading into round one with Lachlan Fitzgibbon (shoulder), Mitchell Barnett (groin) and Bradman Best (thumb) undergoing surgeries in the off-season.

Edrick Lee remains on a train and trial contract at the club and will need to prove he's overcome a foot injury in a bid to land one of the final top 30 deals.

Biggest question mark

The halves pairing of Jake Clifford and Adam Clune looms as key with Pearce's exit causing the brains' trust at Newcastle to re-think their attacking structures.

Brailey: 2022 spine combinations

The Knights have won just 50 percent of their games without Pearce in previous seasons while averaging 17.8 points per outing. 

With just 80 games of NRL experience between them, Clifford and Clune have a massive task in ensuring Kalyn Ponga is given plenty of space during games.

Opening month

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.

Toughest stretch

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.

Pre-season insight: Gagai, Ponga, Clifford; NRLW launch

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.

NRL Fantasy: Knights 2022 prices

Jayden Brailey: HOK, $741,000
Tyson Frizell: EDG, $729,000
Mitchell Barnett: MID/EDG, $699,000
David Klemmer: MID, $605,000
Daniel Saifiti: MID, $604,000
Kalyn Ponga: WFB, $600,000
Lachlan Fitzgibbon: EDG, $585,000
Dane Gagai: CTR/WFB, $581,000
Jake Clifford: HLF, $521,000
Jacob Saifiti: MID, $495,000
Kurt Mann: HLF, $472,000
Bradman Best: CTR, $470,000
Phoenix Crossland: HLF, $466,000
Enari Tuala: CTR/WFB, $388,000
Adam Clune: HLF, $371,000
Dominic Young: CTR/WFB, $367,000
Chris Randall: HOK, $350,000
Starford To'a: WFB, $346,000
Hymel Hunt: CTR/WFB, $331,000
Sauaso Sue: MID, $327,000
Brodie Jones: EDG, $325,000
Jirah Momoisea: MID, $300,000
Simi Sasagi: HLF, $300,000
Brayden Musgrove: CTR, $240,000
Jack Johns: EDG, $240,000
Pasami Saulo: MID, $240,000
Bailey Hodgson: WFB, $220,000
Jacob Kiraz: WFB, $220,000
Christian Ma'anaima: MID, $220,000

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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