2023 Newcastle Knights Preview

After a string of promising years that have failed to live up to potential, can the Knights finally bring home the glory in 2023?



Adam Clune, Adam Elliott, Bailey Hodgson, Bradman Best, Brodie Jones, Dane Gagai, Daniel Saifiti, Dominic Young, Dylan Lucas, Enari Tuala, Greg Marzhew, Hymel Hunt, Jack Johns, Jack Hetherington, Jackson Hastings, Jacob Saifiti, Jayden Brailey, Kalyn Ponga, Krystian Mapapalangi, Kurt Mann, Lachlan Fitzgibbon, Leo Thompson, Mathew Croker, Phoenix Crossland, Simi Sasagi, Tyson Gamble, Tyson Frizell, Myles Martin, Kobe Rugless, Tevita Toloi, Chris Vea’ila. Coach: Adam O’Brien.


1. Lachlan Miller, 2. Dominic Young, 3. Dane Gagai, 4. Bradman Best, 5. Greg Marzhew, 6. Kalyn Ponga (Calf, expected to be fit for Rd 1), 7. Jackson Hastings, 8. Jacob Saifiti, 9. Jayden Brailey, 10. Daniel Saifiti, 11. Tyson Frizell, 12. Lachlan Fitzgibbon, 13. Adam Elliott (Pelvis, expected to be fit for Rd 1), 14. Tyson Gamble, 15. Jack Hetherington (Shoulder, expected to be fit for Rd 1), 16. Mat Croker (Suspension, available from Rd 3), 17. Brodie Jones.


Embed from Getty Images

The best signing that Newcastle have made in a fair amount of time is halfback Jackson Hastings, who has most recently played for the Wests Tigers, and Wigan Warriors in the Super League. He brings direction to a young team – able to guide the squad around the park whilst also entertaining with experience in big moments.


Embed from Getty Images

Kalyn Ponga. An unsurprising reality, Ponga, now slotting into the five eighth role, will be massive in determining how Newcastle’s season unfolds. Having already attempted a stint in the halves previously, Ponga’s ability to gel with his new partner in Hastings will shape how the Knights perform with a new-look spine.


Embed from Getty Images

Whilst Lachlan Miller has already made an impression upon the competition in the handful of first grade games he has played, winning six out of the seven he was involved in, he was never the first choice fullback whilst at Cronulla. He gets the chance in season 2023 to help lead his side and make the position his own, and I can sense a big year coming from the rookie.


It is no secret that the Knights’ performance in season 2022 was a let down. With a new look halves combination going into the beginning of last year, hopes were high for the Novocastrians’ success, but the potential turned into disappointment. This year, the Newcastle side find themselves in a similar situation, with an entirely new spine formation: Lachlan Miller (Sharks), Jackson Hastings (Tigers), and Adam Elliott (Raiders), as well as Kalyn Ponga shifting into the number six jersey. This refreshed core of the squad should give Newcastle fans something to put their faith in, with both experience and raw talent present amongst the quartet, although they will head into the opening round of the season without being able to play a game together due to injuries, and it may take time for the combination to truly gel.

Outside of the spine, the squad now boasts the additions of enforcer Jack Hetherington (Bulldogs) and excitement machine Tyson Gamble (Broncos), who adds much-needed depth to the halves. Whilst the Knights will feel the loss of the hardworking Chris Randall, they will receive a boost from try-scoring winger Greg Marzhew, who was swapped with Randall from the Gold Coast Titans.

The remaining members of the top 30, providing that with any luck they remain fit, look to be in for a big year, with Bradman Best speaking candidly about his desire to get back to playing the footy he knows he is capable of and fan-favourite Dominic Young hot off his World Cup debut for England at the end of 2022.

Newcastle will begin their season with a trip to New Zealand to take on the Warriors, before taking on the Wests Tigers at Leichardt the following week, and then finally celebrating their first home game of the season in round three, where they will play the newly formed Dolphins. Whilst the Warriors and the Tigers sat in similar and lower positions compared to the Knights at the conclusion of last season, playing the first two matches on the road may prove difficult for the Knights, especially as the attempt to combine as a new-look outfit. The third round homecoming to McDonald Jones Stadium should provide the Knights with a fair chance at clinching at least one victory to begin their season.

With the Knights, you can never truly tell where the year will take them, especially with their history of unlucky, long-term injuries over the past few years. Will 2023 be the season in which Newcastle manage to pull themselves up the ladder and towards the ever elusive top eight? Or, like so many times before, will they fail to live up to their potential? Only time will tell.

Other Articles

2023 Dolphins Preview

Leave a Reply

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Translate »