The Newcastle Knights once again finished at the bottom of the ladder for the third year running in the last campaign, taking out the dreaded wooden spoon yet again. However, 2017 saw a lot of positives come out of it and it looks like Nathan Brown is about to see some rewards for the faith he has put in his young side.
You have to hand it to Brown’s resolve in sticking with his squad; he could have temporarily plugged up some holes with veteran players but, instead, he planned for the future bringing in the type of players that will bring back success for the long term. Although it was hard at the time for the supporters, the fact that he didn’t resort to ‘band-aid’ solutions is one of the reasons that next season things should start to come to fruition.
It’s most certainly going to be an interesting year for them so don’t be surprised if they turn a few heads. It would be an incredible result to see them make the top eight and they’re definitely worth a shout if you fancy a roughie. Punters may take advantage of some of the free bets on offer at Champion Bets to minimize their risk and get in early before the team starts putting points on the board. Odds will surely be high at the start of the season and some bookmakers are suggesting they could be one of the best picks on offer.
It will be the coach’s third year in charge and Brown has gone on a bit of a spending spree already in anticipation of next year, making some fantastic additions to the squad.
The Knights locked up North Queensland wonder kid Kalyn Ponga earlier in the year and he will join the rest of the team in preseason. Newcastle legend Matthew Johns has said that he believes it is the best signing the club has made since signing his brother Andrew, who was undoubtedly the greatest player to have ever played at the club.
The halfback played 23 State of Origins and 23 Tests during his time at the Knights so it is a huge compliment to the 18-year old to be compared to Johns, and an extremely positive sign for the struggling club.
Pogna signed a five-year contract with Newcastle reportedly worth $3 million. It’s an extraordinary deal considering that he has only played two first grade matches; however, it could be the signing that brings the club back to its glory days.
They have also signed Connor Watson from the Roosters after beating West Tigers for the young utility’s signature. The Knights have secured his services until the end of 2020. One of the biggest deals of the year was signing Brisbane duo Tatua Moga and Herman Ese’ese, who will have an immediate impact at their new home down south. Ese’ese is highly regarded as one of the most talented young props in the game and Broncos’ coach Wayne Bennett said he was massively disappointed to lose the 110-kilogram powerhouse.
Veteran forward Aidan Guerra has also made the move to Newcastle signing a $1.6 million contract. The Queensland State of Origin player will provide some much-needed experience up front and should lead by example for the youngsters.
With all that new talent arriving they can definitely challenge for a spot in the top eight and the Knights faithful may have quite a lot to cheer about next year.