Five reasons to be pumped for 2019

Keen for the 2019 season to start?

Of course, you are. We are too and why wouldn't we be?

There's a lot of excitement building for next year; from new recruits, developing combinations and talented juniors knocking on the NRL door.

We've broken down what we're most looking forward to ahead of 2019.

Here's five reasons to be pumped for next season.

THE TRIO

Just think what could've been if Mitchell Pearce hadn't torn his pectoral. You only need look to where he finished on the Dally M Medal tally to get an appreciation for his influence on the team.

The same can be said for Kalyn Ponga. It's hard to imagine him not winning the award had he not injured his ankle late in the year.


Now, with a season of playing alongside each other and their bodies at full health, the prospect of the duo forming one of the great partnerships is tantalizing.

Ponga is currently recovering from ankle surgery but isn't expected to miss much training with it which means the skipper and the young buck will get plenty of hours working together under their belts.

The same goes for Connor Watson. He's had surgery on his pelvis after a roller-coaster 2018 season. Watson is a runner. His injury limited his explosiveness but with that now corrected, watch the versatile Central Coast product run riot.

NEW RECRUITS

How can you not be excited by Jesse Ramien? Let's be honest, Ramien could be his own sub head, he's that special.

Awarded the rookie of the year award for Cronulla and selected in the PM's XIII, the centre is an attacking ace.


Still very young but already mighty powerful, Ramien's footwork provides the Knights with a strike option on the right side.

Throw Edrick Lee onto the wing with his height making him a prime kick target for Pearce and the backline has plenty of spark.

MATURING YOUNGSTERS

Daniel Saifiti is only getting better. His finish to 2018 was tremendous.

Shoulder surgery at the end of 2017 meant it was a slow build for Saifiti last season, but he showed at the mid-point that he's ready to take his game to the next level. So much so, Andrew Johns has earmarked the local product as a future Test player for Australia.


Injury-free and hopefully with an uninterrupted pre-season under his belt, the sky is the limit for the prop.

You can put Lachlan Fitzgibbon in the same category. He started the 2018 pre-season with nothing promised and earned his starting spot.

He's fast becoming a fan favourite having won the blue and red faithful over with his hard line running and never say die attitude. A quality edge with room for growth.


WHO WILL DEBUT NEXT?

Tom Starling became player 301 when he made his NRL debut in the final game of last season.

Pasami Saulo is player 300 having debuted earlier in the year. Saulo has been earmarked as a hot prospect and the Club has plenty of exciting juniors still climbing up the grades.


So, who will be next? We've already thrown a number of names at you to keep an eye on in 2019 so time will tell who the 302nd Knight will be.

INJURED TROOPS RETURN

We didn't see a whole lot of Tautau Moga last season due to injury but what we did witness was impressive. There's no denying this guy can play.

A centre whose career has been riddled by ACL injuries, Moga did his fourth knee early in 2018 but has been tirelessly rehabbing the injury.


He's on track for an early season return. Round 5 is roughly pencilled in for Moga's comeback. He's almost a recruit. If he can keep on the paddock, the Knights' back-line shapes as the most potent it has been for quite some time.

Jacob Saifiti is another coming back from injury. Shoulder troubles brought his year to a halt, but the big unit is poised to return and like brother Daniel, Jacob has so much room to improve as a player.

You could get giddy just thinking about where these players can get their games to if they can stay free of injuries next year.