NRL Season Preview: Newcastle Knights

After a very forgettable 2022 season, Edge of the Crowd previews the Knight's attempts to turn things around and build a brighter future in Newcastle.

Last Season Recap

The Knights started their 2022 season showing some promise, as they took down the Roosters in round 1 and had many people talking. From here things started to fall apart for them.

Their side was absolutely torn apart by injuries, preventing their best side from often taking to the field. These injuries meant that an already weak spine was unable to perform at their best.

From here, there was little to be excited about for the 2022 Knights. While their women's team won a premiership, their NRL side gave fans very little hope for the future in Newcastle.

They won 6 games all season and were eliminated from finals contention very early on in the season, finishing in 15th.

How Can They Improve

The Knights have a lot of room for improvement in 2023. 6 wins is a pretty low bar to reach in wins this season, and with better injury luck they have a strong chance of potentially making it.

The Knights' improvement is not just about winning more games. This is a side that needs to start finding the players they want around Kalyn Ponga to be the defining pieces of Newcastle Knights football in the mid-2020s.

This core is starting to form, with players such as Bradman Best showing plenty of promise last year.

Newcastle has also been busy this year trying to bring new players in to reinforce their spine for a more robust 2023 side.

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List Changes

In: Adam Elliott (Raiders), Jack Hetherington (Bulldogs), Tyson Gamble (Broncos), Jackson Hastings (Wests Tigers), Greg Marzhew (Titans), Lachlan Miller (Sharks).

Out: Mitchell Barnett (Warriors), Edrick Lee (Dolphins), Jirah Momoisea (Eels), Tex Hoy (Hull FC), Anthony Milford (Dolphins), Sauaso Sue (Hull KR), Pasami Saulo (Raiders), Jake Clifford (Hull FC), David Klemmer (Wests Tigers), Chris Randall (Titans), Max Bradbury (Sharks).

Biggest Strength

Moving Kalyn Ponga up to the five-eight position, alongside new signing Jackson Hastings at halfback, will be a significant upgrade to their halves combination.

Ponga's 2022 season was overshadowed by constant injuries all season. A full season from one of the game's best young players could be exactly what Newcastle need to turn things around after last season.

Additionally, with a low bar to improve upon for a better 2023 season, the lack of expectations for the Knights may play into their hands, as there is far less pressure to perform week in and week out.

Biggest Weakness

Making numerous big signings is always a risk. The 2022 side had a lot of holes, and Newcastle has been busy trying to fix them.

While their signings seem like good moves, it's always hard to tell just how well they've done until we start to see how these players work together on the field.

Their new signings are also fairly limited in NRL experience, so will have to demonstrate that they can become key contributors to a top-grade side.

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Rising Star

Struggling to get playing time in Cronulla, Lachlan Miller made the decision to move up to Newcastle for this season.

Miller's breakout season is something the Knights will be counting on in 2023 as they will need to fill the fullback position due to moving Kalyn Ponga to the halves.

Miller has plenty of speed and showed plenty of promise in his seven games for the Sharks last year.


While progress has been made in Newcastle, many other sides have also made big moves this season, and it will be hard for Newcastle to demonstrate any improvements.

While there is plenty of upside for this new side, they are still very unproven so it's hard to judge their talent in a preview such as this.

Ladder Prediction: 16th