The Knights were all over the shop in the 2022 season, they were lacking in a number of different areas, and it really didn’t help that Kalyn Ponga was injured for a lot of the season and only ended up playing just 14 games. In fact, Ponga has only played 29 games in across the last two seasons. The Knights finished in 14th place on the ladder and had the second worst attack in the league, only scoring a total of 372 points across the season, and their defence wasn’t much better, allowing 662 points.
The Knights have had a fairly busy recruitment season, with a number of players both coming and going. When looking at who the Knights have gained, there are a few players that stand out, Adam Elliott, who is coming from the Raiders, former Broncos player Tyson Gamble has also made the move to Newcastle, and Jackson Hastings, who was one of the Tigers best players last season, is also a Knight in 2023.
The Knights have certainly lost more players than they have gained. Some of their key losses throughout the recruitment process have been Tex Hoy and Jake Clifford, who are both moving away from the NRL altogether. While Edrick Lee and Anthony Milford are both heading north to the Dolphins in 2023.
Ins: Adam Elliott, Jack Hetherington, Tyson Gamble, Jackson Hastings, Greg Marzhew and Lachlan Miller
Outs: Mitchell Barnett, Edrick Lee, Jirah Momoisea, Tex Hoy, Anthony Milford, Sauaso Sue, Pasami Saulo, Jake Clifford, David Klemmer, Chris Randall and Max Bradbury
Key Player: Kalyn Ponga
Injuries have certainly plagued the young career of Kalyn Ponga. But when he is at is fighting best, he can lift this team up to greatness. Ponga will be playing in the halves this season and hopefully he will be able to start the season with a clean slate. If he can settle in quickly and remain healthy for the entire season, the Knights should have a better season in 2023.
Rising Star: Bailey Hodgson
Bailey Hodgson will be looking to make his NRL debut this season with the Knights, although with the signing of Lachlan Miller, this may delay Hodgson’s debut. His contract with the Knights is coming to an end this season, so he will definitely be looking for ways to impress. The 20-year-old is full of talent, but constant injuries have put a limit on how much he has been able to achieve so far in his career.
5 Key Matches To Watch
Match 1: Round 7, vs Panthers, at McDonald Jones Stadium (Sat, Apr 15, 5:30pm)
Match 2: Round 9, vs Eels, at CommBank Stadium (Fri, Apr 28, 6pm)
Match 3: Round 16, vs Roosters, at McDonald Jones Stadium (Sat, Jun 17, 3pm)
Match 4: Round 21, vs Storm, at McDonald Jones Stadium (Sat, Jul 22, 5:30pm)
Match 5: Round 25, vs Rabbitohs, at McDonald Jones Stadium (Sun, Aug 20, 2pm)
2023 NRL Season Expectations
The Knights are another team that have their expectations rest on one player alone, Kalyn Ponga. The Knights will go as far as Ponga will take them. Things need to improve on both attack and defence if they are going to seriously push for a top eight spot. Although, the Knights lack consistency and depth, which will result in them finishing towards the bottom of the ladder.