TV: Live on SkySports Arena HD and Main Event, Highlights on NRL Try Time (SkySports)
Newcastle Knights v Manly Sea Eagles
The Newcastle Knights welcome the Manly Sea Eagles to the Hunter Valley for this round 1 match up from the NRL and the great news for Rugby League fans is that you can watch all of the action live online via our NRL live streaming partners.
The Knights have struggled for a number of years now but after spending the last couple of seasons getting rid of aging and under-performing stars and recruiting a number of young and hungry players couple with players of international pedigree, the Knights go into the new season with lots of hope and extra expectations on them to perform.
Manly on the other hand have been one of those teams who were always at the top of the table and always in the battle come the end of season play offs but with many of their stars aging or struggling with injuries they haven’t had to cap room to recruit.
When they have brought in new players they have often under-performed so whilst Newcastle are a club on the up, Manly have been a club on a downward spiral.
That sets this match up to be a fascinating one and one that should give us a good insight into how the 2018 campaign will go for both teams.
As the opening round the season neither team have any form coming into the game but the Sea Eagles have won each of their last 6 meetings.
The Knights name a number of new players in their squad with the headline news been the signing of former Kalyn Ponga who starts at fullback. SKD starts at 2 with the experienced Mitchell Pearce at 7. Jacob Lillyman, Aidan Guerra, Brock Lamb, England’s Chris Heighington and Ken Sio are all named in the Knights squad.
The Sea Eagles are without Darcy Lussick who is suspended so Addin Fonua-Blake starts in the pack.
The Knights go into the new season as an unknown as they have recruited arguably the best as they look to turn around years of struggling. Whilst a team with lots of changes, especially to the spine of the squad, in the opening round often struggle as the new players bed in, the sheer quality of the new recruits in the Newcastle squad should make them a tough opposition for any team.
The Sea Eagles do have the advantage of naming a relatively settled squad, but they also have a squad that under-performed badly last year.
In front of what is expected to be a large crowd after good membership sales in Newcastle we are going to back the home side to pick up a win as they have some great strike players and those players who have the ability to create something from nothing.
Whilst the Sea Eagles will look at DCE and Tom Trbojevic to guide them, the Knights have 5-6 players across the park who can step up.
Score Prediction Newcastle Knights by 8