29/05/2024

The Newcastle Knights will be looking to put aside their disappointing inaugural campaign as they head into a new season. (Image: Newcastle Knights Website)

The Newcastle Knights beginnings in the NRLW competition was a season to forget, with the club having five straight losses to their name. With the 2022 season beginning this weekend, it sees the Knights entering a second season with an aim to get their first win on the board.

Last year

It wasn’t smooth sailing for the Newcastle Knights in their previous season. Their inaugural campaign was damped with five consecutive losses during the competition.

Their debut match-up against the Paramatta Eels saw them losing by one set up what would be a consistent trend during their season.

Following their first loss on the board, it was only downhill for the Knights as they failed to topple the rest of the teams in the competition. The biggest losing margin seen by the side took place during their Round Four battle against the Illawarra Dragons, where they suffered a disappointing defeat 4 – 40.

However, despite the sour start to their first NRLW season, there were a number of positives for the Knights. This included the prominence of Annetta Nu’uausala, who was a force to be reckoned with.

The 27-year-old New Zealander had a stellar season. Averaging 91 running metres per game, and pocketing 14 tackle breaks, it saw her earn the club’s first-ever Player of the Year award. Nu’uausala also was crowned the Player’s Player award after her consistent performance across the five games.

Squad Changes

In: Caitlin Moran, Emmanita Paki, Hannah Southwell (Roosters), Jakiya Whitfield, Jesse Southwell, Kiana Takairangi, Makenzie Weale, Millie Boyle (Broncos), Nicole Nathan, Olivia Higgins (Roosters), Shanice Parker, Simone Karpani (Roosters), Tamika Upton (Broncos), Tamsin Barber, Tayla Predebon (Roosters), Yasmin Clydsdale (Roosters).

Out: Annetta Nu’uausala (Brisbane Broncos), Jayme Fressard (Sydney Roosters), Paige Parker (Brisbane Broncos).

More NRLW Season Previews

NRLW 2022 Season Preview: St. George Illawarra Dragons – Looking to go one better

NRLW 2022 Season Preview: Sydney Roosters – The hunter becomes the hunted

NRLW 2022 Season Preview: Parramatta Eels – Building for the future

Track Watch

As the countdown winds down until round one, the Newcastle Knights are cruising through without any injury concerns.

It’ll help the team to have peace of mind as they prepare to take on their first challenge of the season, the Brisbane Broncos.

What to Expect

It’s a new season for the Newcastle Knights, which will also mark a new season under the reign of new head coach Ronald Griffiths. The newly appointed Grifiths brings with him a wealth of experience including assistant coaching stints in the Indigenous All-Star competition and with the Wests Tigers in the NRL.

A big question that faces the Newcastle Knights is how their defence stacks up, following their consecutive losses leaving them exposed. As the side progresses through their second season, this will be a focus point for the Knights once again.

An exodus seen by multiple players including Nu’uausla and Paige Parker saw the Knights go on a signing spree.

The pick-ups of Caitlin Moran, Emmanita Paki, Hannah Southwell, Jakiya Whitfield, Jesse Southwell, Kiana Takairangi, Makenzie Weale, Millie Boyle, Nicole Nathan, Olivia Higgins, Shanice Parker, Simone Karpani, Tamika Upton, Tamsin Barber, Tayla Predebon and Yasmin Clydsdale will help to soften the blow of player losses.

Development will be key for this team, given that many of the playing list have limited or no NRLW experience heading into 2022.

It’s a big year for?

Jesse Southwell

Despite her age, Southwell already has an already building reputation in the sport. The addition of Southwell follows the 17-year-old’s Birmingham campaign as part of Australia’s gold medal win against Fiji.

On top of that, she also has a one game under her belt from last season. Her only appearance saw her play for 70 minutes. During that time, Southwell had a performance that consisted of one try, five goals and 14 points.

If her recent performances is anything to go by, then the newest signing for the Knights will be an exciting prospect to watch in the upcoming season.

Round 1 line-up

1. Tamika Upton

2. Kiana Takairangi

3. Shanice Parker

4. Bobbi Law

5.Autumn-Rain Stephens Daly

6. Kirra Dibb

7.Jesse Southwell

8. Caitlan Johnston

9. Olivia Higgins

10. Millie Boyle

11. Romy Teitzel

12. Yasmin Clydsdale

13. Hannah Southwell

Interchange:

14. Emma Manzelmann

15. Tayla Predebon

16. Kyra Simon

17. Simone Karpani

Ladder range

Fourth-Fifth Position

It’s never easy being the new kids on the block. For the Newcastle Knight’s inaugural campaign, this could not be anymore true. Despite a sour start to the beginning of their franchise, the team has a number of positives going for them.

The inclusion of talented players to their squad, and the appointment of a new coach could be the recipe that sees the side build on what they’ve accomplished last season.

Whilst it’s not predicted by many that a premiership is in their sights yet, more development of players and exposure to game time can see a more moulded Newcastle Knights then were seen last year.

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