Picture a season with Pearce, Watson and Ponga injury-free

Just picture a season where the nib Newcastle Knights spine is injury free.

The team's key players are all on the field and at the same time.

This season has been a trying one.

There's no denying that but it's also been a year of progress.

The Club has won eight games this season. That's three better from last year.


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Their defence has come under scrutiny and ranked the lowest of the competition.

This season the club has conceded 533 points but it's an improvement on the 648 points the club allowed in 2017.

You could make the argument that the Knights should have even more wins with improved roster they possess.


The problem is, that roster has seldom played together.

Mitchell Pearce joined the Club as their key signing but has only managed to make 12 appearances due to injury.

In fact, the first-choice spine hasn't taken the field together this Round 3.

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While the Knights may be sitting in 11th, it hasn't stopped the pride of the Hunter boasting the equal best set completion rate (79%) in the NRL.

That's right.


In a competition so heavily focused on the numbers, it's a telling stat.

Imagine the improvements they'd have with a healthy roster.

A combination of Pearce, Kalyn Ponga and Connor Watson is the backbone of the attack.

Yet the trio has only been on the field for just 176 minutes over the course of the 2018 season.

Watson is currently sidelined with a groin injury.

He's played 14 games this season.


Throw in first choice hooker Slade Griffin being sidelined with an ACL injury and strike centre Tautau Moga missing for the bulk of the season and consistency was always going to be a struggle.

Just imagine if Ponga had enjoyed a full season playing alongside Pearce.

There's no limit on what they could've achieved.

There's no secret, Ponga is a superb talent.

He's enjoyed a breakout year with 12-line breaks and 10 try assists from 19 appearances.

Pearce has 11 try assists, 10-line break assists and leads the competition for average kick metres with 386 per game.


Had Nathan Brown been able to keep the duo together for a sustained period, their combination would've flourished.

Throw in the fact promising young forward Jacob Saiifti (shoulder) has been sidelined for much of the season and that certainly hasn't helped the engine room.

As the 2018 season winds down, it's important to keep perspective.

The Club has made giant strides on where they were last year and have more quality players joining the roster next season.

With three games left this year, the Knights are focused on finishing strong and setting the foundations for the team to launch off of in 2019.