2019 Home Games: Round by Round analysis

Now is the time to secure your seat for the 2019 Newcastle Knights National Rugby League home season, because as every Knights Member knows – nothing compares to being there.


This week's NRL draw release means every Knights Member and supporter can start planning for every round at McDonald Jones Stadium in 2019.

Nothing compares to being there: Get your 2019 Knights Membership today!

The passionate crowd support McDonald Jones Stadium is famous for has been rewarded with a range of outstanding home fixtures in 2019. The Knights will once again play all 12 home matches in Newcastle, home to the second highest average attendance in the NRL this year.

Here's every game, and every opponent, the Knights will host in 2019:

ROUND ONE: KNIGHTS V CRONULLA – FRIDAY 15 MARCH, 6PM

Head to Head since 1998: Played 38, Knights 21 wins, Sharks 17 wins
2018: Sharks 38, Knights 12 (Round 24); Sharks 48, Knights 10 (Round 12)

The men from the Shire have had the best of recent encounters with the Knights however with former Sharks Jesse Ramien and Edrick Lee lining up in blue and red this coming season the ledger might just tip the Knights way – especially given they scored five tries between them in clashes between the two sides in 2018.

With Tim Glasby and Mason Lino also a chance to debut, there's plenty of reason to get excited for round one at McDonald Jones Stadium.


ROUND TWO: KNIGHTS V PENRITH, SATURDAY 23 MARCH, 5.30PM

Head to Head since 1998: Played 33, Knights 19 wins, Panthers 13 wins, 1 draw
2018: Knights 20, Panthers 12 (Round 23); Panthers 29, Knights 18 (Round 10)

Coach Nathan Brown rated the Knights round 23 win at Penrith as his side's most complete of last season and Knights Members and fans will be hoping for more of the same again when the two teams meet at home in round two. The loss to the Knights could be viewed as one catalyst for the Panthers late season resurgence, which saw them go within a whisker of reaching week three of the playoffs having beaten the Storm and Warriors in consecutive weeks.

With changes to playing and coaching personnel during the offseason, it's hard to pick which Panthers will make the trek to McDonald Jones Stadium. But one thing is for sure – both sides will view this as an opportunity to kick start their season with a prized scalp.


ROUND FOUR: KNIGHTS V ST. GEORGE-ILLAWARRA, SUNDAY 7 APRIL, 6.10PM

Head to Head since 1998: Played 37, Knights 11 wins, Dragons 26 wins
2018: Dragons 24, Knights 14 (Round 25); Dragons 30, Knights 12 (Round 4)

McDonald Jones Stadium has been a very happy hunting ground for the St. George-Illawarra Dragons over the years, winning 80% of their games at the venue including on Old Boys Day 2018. The Dragons also dominate the head to head stats between the two sides – something Coach Brown and his men will be keen to start addressing when the two sides meet in round four.

The two sides clashed in Wollongong in the corresponding round last year, which started on a flyer for the Knights thanks to a third minute try scored by Tautau Moga off a sublime Kalyn Ponga break. Unfortunately for the big centre, a ruptured ACL in the process of scoring ended his season. This clash will be a chance for the Knights faithful to see him back in full flight in a rare Sunday night game.


ROUND FIVE: KNIGHTS V MANLY, SATURDAY 13 APRIL, 5.30PM

Head to Head since 1998: Played 30, Knights 14 wins, Sea Eagles 16 wins
2018: Knights 18, Manly 12 (Round 8); Knights 19, Manly 18 (Round 1)

It's the clash Knights Members and fans mark down as a must attend each and every year – the grudge match against the old enemy, Manly. And this one should be no different.

In 2018, the round one match up between the two sides at McDonald Jones Stadium was the second highest attended game of the season, with 23,516 packing the ground to see nine players make their Knights debut and the home side triumph thanks to that Mitchell Pearce field goal in golden point extra time. 2018 also saw the Knights go back to back against the Sea Eagles in a season for the first time since 2006, winning 18-12 at Brookvale in round eight.

Nothing compares to being there: Get your 2019 Knights Membership today!


ROUND SEVEN: KNIGHTS V PARRAMATTA, SUNDAY 28 APRIL, 4.05PM

Head to Head since 1998: Played 36, Knights 21 wins, Eels 15 wins
2018: Knights 18, Eels 16 (Round 18); Knights 30, Eels 4 (Round 13)

Another side the Knights scored back to back wins against last season, the Parramatta Eels come to Newcastle during Anzac Round looking to repay the faith of their supporters after taking out the dreaded wooden spoon in 2018.

And who could forget the last time the Eels headed up the M1? The Knights came into the game having won just one of their past eight games – incidentally against the Eels at ANZ Stadium in round 13 – thanks in no small part to missing Mitchell Pearce through injury. But Pearce was welcomed back by the boisterous McDonald Jones Stadium crowd, scoring a 46th minute try on the way to securing his side a much-needed win.


ROUND 11: KNIGHTS V SYDNEY ROOSTERS, FRIDAY 24 MAY, 7.50PM

Head to Head since 1998: Played 39, Knights 12 wins, Roosters 27 wins
2018: Roosters 18, Knights 16 (Round 14); Roosters 38, Knights 8 (Round 3)

After such a strong start to the home season, the Knights crowd will be hungry for some football by the time the reigning premiers come to town in round 11. The match will be the Knights first at home in a month and follows three weeks on the road – in Auckland, Brisbane and Mudgee.

Playing the Roosters off a three week road trip and on a five day turnaround – the Knights only for the season – may sound a tough ask however the home side will be buoyed by their performance the last time the two sides faced off at McDonald Jones Stadium. On that occasion, the Knights led approaching the half hour mark before Blake Ferguson tries either side of half time made it a bridge too far. A late Kalyn Ponga touch down gave the Knights hope, but it'd ultimately not be enough as the Roosters survived a scare 18-16.


ROUND 15: KNIGHTS V BRISBANE, SATURDAY 29 JUNE, 5.30PM

Head to Head since 1998: Played 35, Knights 12 wins, Broncos 22 wins, 1 draw
2018: Knights 15, Broncos 10 (Round 5)

Another month-long break between home games will see the Knights faithful ready and raring to kick off a run of three straight home games with a back up win over the Brisbane Broncos.

The two sides clashed only once in 2018 – the Knights winning 15-10 in round five to go to 3-and-2 for the season – in a match made famous by verbal sparring between the respective head coaches. However what will live longer in the memories of those in the crowd will be the dominant performance on the field, particularly from big men and try scorers on the night Lachlan Fitzgibbon Daniel Saifiti.


ROUND 16: KNIGHTS V NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS, SATURDAY 6 JULY, 7.35PM

Head to Head since 1998: Played 37, Knights 16 wins, Warriors 20 wins, 1 draw
2018: Warriors 20, Knights 4 (Round 22)

The Warriors make their return to Newcastle for the first time in nearly two years when they take on the Knights in round 16.

And if this clash is anything like that last time – a 26-10 Knights win in round 22 of 2017 – Knights fans will have plenty to cheer about. On that occasion, two quickfire Mitch Barnett tries laid on the platform for what would prove to be a landmark victory, given it came in the middle of a three game winning run in an otherwise challenging season.

Nothing compares to being there: Get your 2019 Knights Membership today!


ROUND 17: KNIGHTS V BULLDOGS, FRIDAY 12 JULY, 7.55PM

Head to Head since 1998: Played 35, Knights 16 wins, Bulldogs 18 wins, 1 draw
2018: Bulldogs 36, Knights 16 (Round 16)

It'll be a rebuilding Bulldogs side that heads to Newcastle off the back of one of their most disappointing seasons in years. The Knights take on Canterbury in the third of a three game block of home fixtures and will definitely be eyeing this one off as an opportunity to move further up the ladder.

That said, the Knights have been somewhat luckless in their last two encounters against the Bulldogs, losing more than just the game when they last clashed at McDonald Jones Stadium in round 16 of last season. That night Slade Griffin suffered a season ending knee injury whilst Kalyn Ponga limped off with a hamstring strain. The encounter before that was not much better, the Knights far outshining their opposition for the majority of the match at Belmore Sportsground before being run down 20-18 thanks to two tries in the final five minutes of play.


ROUND 19: KNIGHTS V WESTS TIGERS, FRIDAY 26 JULY, 6PM

Head to Head since 1998: Played 26, Knights 13 wins, Tigers 13 wins
2018: Wests Tigers 25, Knights 16 (Round 21); Knights 22, Tigers 20 (Round 7)

The long run home starts in round 19 when the Knights play host to the Wests Tigers at McDonald Jones Stadium, the match the first of a run of six straight games against opposition that finished the 2018 season outside the top eight – three of which are at home.

And taking on the Tigers in the timeslot the Knights home crowd made their own in 2018 – 6PM Friday – will undoubtedly give Newcastle the edge.

The Knights and Tigers have a history of spirited encounters as evidenced by them each winning exactly 50% of matches between the two sides since 1998. 2018 was no different, the Knights winning on the road in thrilling circumstances 22 points to 20 then losing at home 25-16 in round 21.


ROUND 22: KNIGHTS V COWBOYS, SATURDAY 17 AUGUST, 3PM

Head to Head since 1998: Played 35, Knights 18 wins, Cowboys 17 wins
2018: Cowboys 20, Knights 18 (Round 20)

The North Queensland Cowboys make their return to Newcastle for the first time since 2015 after edging the Knights by two points in Townsville in 2018.

The Cowboys – 2015 Premiers and 2017 runners up – endured a rare off year this past season, which also doubled as a yearlong valedictory tour for retiring legend Johnathan Thurston. With that era now over, the Cowboys will come into the new season having handed the keys to the likes of Michael Morgan and recruit Ben Barba, fresh from winning the Man of Steel award for his performances with St. Helens in the English Super League.


ROUND 24: KNIGHTS V TITANS, SATURDAY 31 AUGUST, 3PM

Head to Head since 2007: Played 20, Knights 10 wins, Titans 10 wins
2018: Knights 30, Titans 24 (Round 19), Titans 33, Knights 26 (Round 11)

The last time the Gold Coast Titans came to Newcastle, the Knights put in one of their gutsiest comebacks in recent memory, fighting back from a 14 point deficit to record a six point victory. On that occasion, Mitch Barnett crossed for a double while a Shaun Kenny-Dowall iced the result eight minutes out from full time.

The Old Boys Day clash is always one to remember and with 31 seasons of Knights legends watching on, a big performance is assured.

Nothing compares to being there: Get your 2019 Knights Membership today!