10 biggest storylines of 2018

It's been a huge year for the nib Newcastle Knights.

While the team missed out on the finals, they took a giant stride in the right direction both on and off the field.

From signing Origin forwards, to exciting golden point victories, newcastleknights.com.au has looked at the year that was.

10. PONGA'S ANKLE BREAKER


It was an electric Saturday night at McDonald Jones Stadium as the Sydney Roosters rolled into town.

The eventual premiers were tested the whole game with a series of big moments from both sides that had fans on the edge of their seats.

Although the Knights ended up losing by two points, it was their young star who lit up the stadium.

The Roosters had put in a kick and Ponga scooped it up in the in-goal.

In attempt to get out, Ponga pulled off a spectacular side-step which threw Roosters fullback James Tedesco flying, 'breaking his ankles' and sending social media into a frenzy.

In a year full of highlights for Ponga, this was one of the best.

9. BEATING THE BRONCOS

Defence was a problem for the Knights in 2018, having conceded 607 points.

But it wasn't all doom and gloom.

One of their best wins was built on the back of a strong defensive showing and it came against Brisbane in Round 5.


Since ex-Coach Wayne Bennett left Newcastle in 2014, the Knights had never beaten him.

But the Knights put together a complete performance, leading the Broncos 7-0 at halftime and finishing the game as 15-10 winners.

Their great defensive performance was highlighted by Slade Griffin's ankle tap on Corey Oates and a Kalyn Ponga chase down of Kodi Nikorima. Both saved certain tries.

8. BROWN RE-SIGNS

Nathan Brown has endured the highs and lows of this Knights squad over the past three years.

Brown has taken a squad filled with rookies and developed them to a team of seasoned professionals.

In June, Brown was rewarded for his efforts in turning the Club around with a new contract.

7. FITZY RE-SIGNS


It's been a rapid rise for Lachlan Fitzgibbon who in November put pen to paper to secure his future with the Knights.

He still had a year to run on his original contract but upgraded it to stay with the Club until at least 2021.

6. BUHRER KICK TO SKD

It was one of the moments of the year.

Mitchell Pearce had left the field with an injury and Jamie Buhrer was called upon to step into the halves in the final minutes of the game.

Down by two, the pressure didn't get to Buhrer as he put in a pin-point kick to the corner for Shaun Kenny-Dowall.

The winger soared above his opposition winger and scored the game winning try.

5. BEAT MANLY FOR A SECOND TIME


We knocked off Manly in the opening game of the season and a few weeks later we did battle again.

Mitchell Pearce was the hero in Round 1 but Pearce was missing this time round due to a pectoral tear.

Aidan Guerra captained the team for the first time led by example with a terrific try-saving tackle early in the contest.

It was an arm wrestle of a game but the Knights got the win.

It was the first time the Knights had beaten the Sea Eagles twice in the same year in 19 seasons.

4. REP DEBUTS


Last year was the first time since 2015 that a Knight didn't feature in game 1 of a State of Origin series.

But in Game 2, Kalyn Ponga got the call up for to make his debut for Queensland.

It was an electric debut for the 20-year-old, who was thrown into unfamiliar territory and played lock for 60 minutes.

That same week, Slade Griffin and Herman Ese'ese were picked to make their international debuts.

The New Zealand duo played in the Denver Test match against England.

3. KNIGHTS BEAT MANLY IN GOLDEN POINT


This is a game no Knights fan will ever forget.

It was the start of a new era with Mitchell Pearce, Kalyn Ponga and Connor Watson all starring for their new team.

It was a seesaw affair which saw both teams trade leads. The game ended as 18-all and into golden point.

The fans were treated to an absolute classic as the skipper slotted the game winning field goal.

Pearce was the hero and it was the perfect start to the 2018 season.

2. KP WINS RLPA


Ponga created history when he became the youngest recipient of the RLPA Player's Champion award.

The peer-voted award is one of the leagues most prestigious prizes.

The accolade capped off a terrific year for the 20-year-old.

1. KLEMMER SIGNS


Certainly, the biggest story of 2018 was the signing of Test and State of Origin forward David Klemmer.

In November, Klemmer joined the Knights on a five-year-deal.

The Knights were after a forward leader to help guide their pack, and they certainly got the man they were looking for.

With a signing of his quality, Knights fans are most definitely excited about what this team can do in 2019.