Head coach Nathan Brown has given his appraisal of the Newcastle Knights’ draw following its official release by the NRL on Friday.
Excitingly, the draw features a number of blockbuster games against opponents who haven’t appeared at Hunter Stadium for a number of seasons.
“Getting Manly (Sea Eagles) at home for the first time in a long time, being the nearest thing to a local derby, is a good one,” Brown said.
“Manly having a great strong squad, and it being on ANZAC Day, one would think it will attract a great crowd and should be a great occasion."
Meanwhile the Knights face NRL juggernauts, the South Sydney Rabbitohs on the Club’s celebrated Old Boys Day in Round 25.
“South Sydney is traditionally a great side and now they are at the forefront of the competition again,” he said.
“It’s a great team to play on the Old Boys Day, which has always been a great weekend for the Knights.”
The beginning of the draw offers a challenge for the Knights with the team hitting the road for four of the first five rounds.
“Especially the fact we’ll probably have the youngest, or least experienced squad in the competition,” he added.
“It’s a challenge we should look at as exciting, not as something that’s a disappointment.
“It’s a challenge, but one we should embrace.
“On the flip side, if you do reasonably well in that early part of the year, you do get a lot of home games to come home to.
“As we all know, when the Knights are playing a reliable type of football, the fans certainly turn up.
“It could set us up to have a great finish to the year.”
Now the majority of the schedule has been locked down, Brown calls on Knights supporters and Members to sign up now to Stay True to the Club in 2016.
“Different Members will have different games and different times and different teams they like to follow,” he said.
“On a whole we need everyone on board.
“The more Members we get, the better organisation we can be.
“Hopefully the Members can encourage other Members to join and to drag along a friend.”