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.
Live coverage of the NRL match will be streamed right here on: https://www.newcastleknights.com.au/
St George Illawarra
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.
Gates open: 2:15pm
Intrust Super Premiership NSW kick-off: 2:30pm
NRL kick-off: 4pm
Tickets (General Admission) for Saturday’s match are available at the ground.