Let the 2014 Crusade begin.
After a well earned Christmas and New Years break, the Newcastle Knights full time squad returned to pre-season training last Friday.
The good news is all of the players have returned in great health and are ready for a hard month of training ahead of the trials and Auckland 9s.
The bad news is, there’s still more than 2 months to go before Round 1 against Penrith at Centrebet Stadium on Saturday March 8.
Although it’s early days, I’m already feeling a little confident about the season ahead for the Knights. Some of you may argue that they have no big name signings or that their senior players will find it harder this season and that the retirement of Danny Buderus will leave too big of a hole for coach Bennett to fill.
All good points but in years gone by the run into the finals with momentum has shown what can happen in that first weekend in October. Who could forget Parramatta’s amazing run to the big day in 2009 or West Tigers going all the way in 2005? Both of those sides were written off before a ball was kicked in their respective seasons.
Newcastle has a great opportunity to emulate those teams of the past and improve on 2013 with a dream run of 6 home games in their last 8 fixtures. Combine the effect of the home crowd with the experience of Mason, Smith, Scott and Gidley, the never say die attitude of Rochow, McManus and Hilder, the youthful skill of Roberts and Gagai mixed with the class of Mullen, Uate and Boyd and you can believe that this could be the year of the Knight.