Ultimate guide to Knights v Dragons trial

Newcastle Knights v St George Illawarra Dragons

Date: Saturday, February 23

Location: WIN Stadium, Wollongong

Time: 4pm (NRL)

The nib Newcastle Knights begin preparations for the 2019 NRL season on Saturday evening, as they take on the St George Illawarra Dragons in their first trial.

Several new signings, including Kangaroos prop David Klemmer, will line up in Nathan Brown’s squad, while a number of players hoping to debut in first grade will be given game time against last season’s semi-finalists.

Late mail: Knights confirm starting side

LIVE STREAM

Live coverage of the NRL match will be streamed right here on: https://www.newcastleknights.com.au/

TEAMS

Newcastle

Aidan Guerra

Brodie Jones

Beau Fermor

Connor Watson

Daniel Saifiti

Danny Levi

David Klemmer

Edrick Lee

Herman Ese’ese

James Gavet

Josh King

Jacob Gagai

Jamie Buhrer

Jesse Ramien

Kalyn Ponga

Kurt Mann

Lachlan Fitzgibbon

Mitchell Pearce

Mason Lino

Mitch Barnett

Nathan Ross

Pasami Saulo

Phoenix Crossland

Sione Mata’utia

Star To’a

Shaun Kenny-Dowall

Tim Glasby

Tex Hoy

St George Illawarra

Euan Aitken

Mitchell Allgood

Matt Dufty

Jai Field

Jackson Ford

Jacob Host

Ben Hunt

Josh Kerr

Tim Lafai

Jeremy Latimore

Blake Lawrie

Luciano Leilua

Zac Lomax

Joe Lovodua

Lachlan Maranta

Steven Marsters

Cameron McInnes

Darren Nicholls

Corey Norman

Jordan Pereira

Mikaele Ravalawa

Reece Robson

Tristan Sailor

Korbin Sims

Tariq Sims

Lachlan Timm

Paul Vaughan

Gareth Widdop

GETTING ‘D’ IN ORDER

Narrowly avoiding the Sea Eagles for the dubious honour of having the worst defence in the NRL last year, the Knights will be looking to highlight the defensive strides made over the pre-season.

Bolstering the forward pack with representative trio David Klemmer, Tim Glasby and James Gavet, coach Nathan Brown has stressed the importance of defence in order to push for a top eight finish.

IN CASE OF INJURY

While Kalyn Ponga showed plenty of class playing for the Maori All Stars last Friday, former Warriors playmaker Mason Lino will be out to ensure he isn’t forgotten when the Round 1 team is named.

Selected in Brown's extended squad, the 25-year-old Samoan international will provide coach Brown with a strong insurance policy should Ponga or captain Mitchell Pearce spend a stint on the sidelines.

AN EYE TO THE FUTURE

Unlikely to revisit the days of debuting 11 rookies in first grade anytime soon, Saturday’s trial will give Newcastle supporters a glimpse to the future.

Coming close to an NRL call-up last season, second-rower Brodie Jones has been named as part of the squad, alongside reigning Jersey Flegg Player of the Year Beau Fermor.

COMPETITION FOR POSITIONS

Just like last season, nine new signings have joined the Knights for the new campaign.

With competition for positions set to see regulars from last year’s team fighting to hold onto their spots in first grade, new recruits and young guns alike will be pushing for a place in the NRL team to take on Cronulla in a months’ time.

KEY TIMINGS:

Gates open: 2:15pm

Intrust Super Premiership NSW kick-off: 2:30pm

NRL kick-off: 4pm

TICKETS

Tickets (General Admission) for Saturday’s match are available at the ground.