The nib Newcastle Knights are blessed with options for 2020.
In the lead-up to the new season, newcastleknights.com.au will look over the depth of the Club and break down the positional options at the disposal of Coach Adam O’Brien.
Today we look at the candidates in the halves:
Note: These depth charts are the opinion of newcastleknights.com.au and have no input from the coaching staff.
Pearce is one of the Knights most valuable player.
During Newcastle’s six game winning streak last season, Pearce took home six straight man of the match awards.
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Pearce has almost ticked off all you can do in rugby league with game 300 in sight in 2020.
His exceptional kicking game, classy playmaking and strong leadership will go a long way to any success the Club has this year.
Mann is an option to play almost every position on the field for Coach O’Brien.
His versatility is extremely valued as Mann can play anywhere in the backline, halves and even hooker.
He partnered Pearce in the halves on five occasions in 2019, the most memorable game being in Mudgee against the Dragons where he scored an electrifying solo try in the 45-12 win.
Mann is a player every team wants to have and showed last season that he’d be a great partner for Pearce in the halves.
With Mitchell Pearce a lock for the halfback position, the man to partner him is still to be determined.
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A young man who has already caught the eye of the new Coach is Crossland.
The 20-year-old has a real opportunity stamp his name in the starting lineup with a strong pre-season.
Crossland played most of the season in the Canterbury Cup last year but did make his NRL debut against the Warriors in Round 16.
He’s a crafty halfback with a strong work ethic on the training paddock so look for Crossland to push for his name to be on the starting sheet come Round 1.
Lino certainly showed the league that he’s a regular first grader.
He’s a strong ball runner with fast footwork which is a nightmare for goal-line defences. But probably Lino’s greatest trait is his goal kicking.
Lino kicked at 84% for the Knights last season, taking over Kalyn Ponga from first choice goal kicker.
A youngster with plenty of potential.
Sasagi is an up and coming talent.
An exciting five-eighth with a strong work ethic, Sasagi made his Jersey Flegg debut in 2019 and ran riot.
The teenager played 35 minutes and scored four tries.
He’s one for the future to keep an eye on.
It was an experiment which didn’t quite work for the Knights last season and Ponga found himself back in the fullback position by Round 4.
But after Ponga’s off season, it’s definitely an option for the Coach in 2020.
He showed the rugby league world that he has a future in the No.6 jersey when he starred for the Junior Kangaroos over the off-season.
Ponga set up four tries in their 62-4 win against France and looked at home in the halves.
We are unsure what position best suits his style of play.
He has become a Mr Fix it.
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He started his Knights career off at five-eighth before moving to fullback and hooker last season.
He has partnered Pearce in the halves before and showed he’s a quality five-eighth in the NRL.
Look for Watson to be an option for Coach O’Brien during the 2020 season.
A jack of all trades, the development player is capable of slotting in at five-eighth.
He's played near every position in 20s and Canterbury Cup and done a rock solid job whether he's at five-eighth, fullback, centre or wing.
The halfback joined the Knights from Dubbo to play Jersey Flegg but finished up spending plenty of time in Canterbury Cup.
A tenacious playmaker who isn’t shy of taking on the line, Searle trained with the NRL squad for the pre-Christmas portion of training.