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Knights star Kalyn Ponga.

Here is all you need to know about the Newcastle Knights' 2019 Telstra Premiership draw.

Teams they play twice: Panthers, Dragons, Sea Eagles, Titans, Eels, Warriors, Bulldogs, Roosters, Wests Tigers.

Teams they play once: Sharks, Raiders, Rabbitohs, Storm, Broncos, Cowboys.

Day-by-day breakdown: Thursday - Zero, Friday - Six, Saturday - Twelve, Sunday - Six.

Five-day turnarounds: 1 (Rd 11).

Kick-off: Newcastle have a chance to build some early momentum with three of their first four matches at McDonald Jones Stadium. However, they face three teams which made last season’s finals in those matches plus a trip to Canberra in round three.

Five key matches

Sharks (Round 1, McDonald Jones Stadium): No side has struggled more in recent seasons than Newcastle against an in-form Sharks club; even the much-improved Knights of 2018 still conceded 86 points in two clashes against Cronulla.Newcastle have suffered eight consecutive losses to the Sharks. It used to be a different story between the two clubs with the Knights winning 12 of their previous 16 games prior to 2015. Newcastle will have two former Sharks Jesse Ramien and Edrick Lee at their disposal in 2019 to add to an intriguing battle.

Five key matchups of the Knights' 2019 draw

Roosters (Round 11, McDonald Jones Stadium): The defending premiers have five former players at the Knights and have won the past six games between these sides. Newcastle were unlucky in their most recent 18-16 defeat against the Roosters in round 14 but will welcome the chance to test themselves again in 2018, particularly Mitchell Pearce, who will go head-to-head with Cooper Cronk for possibly the final time in his career if Cronk pulls the pin at the end of the 2019 season.

Broncos (Round 15, McDonald Jones Stadium): One thing in rugby league is certain, people don't forget the past. Knights fans remain angry over Wayne Bennett's exit at the club in 2014 and Nathan Brown's "big head, little head" comments in April will only add to the build-up when the two sides clash again. Given it is Bennett's final season at the Broncos, another victory would bode well with Knights fans.

NRL Telstra premiership draw 2019

Wests Tigers (Round 19, McDonald Jones Stadium): In between all of Newcastle's struggles in their wooden spoon days, they always managed to compete against the Wests Tigers and they also snatched a thriller in Tamworth early last year. They have two meetings with the Tigers - at McDonald Jones Stadium in round 19 then Campbelltown Stadium in round 23 - to look forward to in 2019.

Sea Eagles (Round 5, McDonald Jones Stadium): Newcastle clawed their way back from five years of losses against the Sea Eagles to earn back-to-back wins over their once bitter rivals in 2018. It was the first time since 2006 that the Novocastrians have beaten Manly twice in a season. With every clash between these sides the 1997 grand final always seems to get a mention, and that's all these clubs ever need to re-ignite their feud.

Toughest stretch: Rounds 8-11. The Knights enjoy a glut of home games to start the season (five in the first seven rounds) but the trade-off comes immediately after that with a tricky spell on the road, three of those against 2018 top-eight finishers. They head to Auckland in round eight, play the Bulldogs at Suncorp in Magic Round in round nine, head to Mudgee to play the Dragons in round 10 before returning home to host premiers Sydney Roosters in round 11 off a five-day turnaround.

And another thing: Old Boys' Day is always a big event in the Hunter. In 2019, for the first time in three years, the Knights are away in the final round of the year meaning the event will take place in round 24 at 3pm on a Saturday against the Titans. Expect it to be one of Newcastle's best-attended games once again.