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Newcastle Knights set for a top-eight push in 2018. What are the odds?

Posted on 23/11 by Joe Gann

Newcastle Knights set for a top-eight push in 2018. What are the odds?

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After three seasons spent anchored to the foot of the NRL ladder, 2018 could be the start of a bright new era at the McDonald Jones Stadium.

With five victories under their belt and 14 competition points collected along the way, 2017 represented genuine progress for the Novocastrians as they begin to emerge from one of the darkest spells in the club’s history.

The recent spending spree initiated by Coach Nathan Brown has resulted in assembling a host of top-class talent on the Central Coast; the turnover of playing staff has seen a number of comings-and-goings in which 16 players have been released from their pool of 30 from last season.

The biggest overhaul in the competition has seen the recruitment of: Herman Ese’ese, Slade Griffin, Aidan Guerra, Chris Heighington, Jacob Lilyman, Tautau Moga, Kalyn Ponga, Connor Watson, Christian Hazard and Brent Haden, and the spending shows no signs of slowing; the club are believed to be well in the hunt to lure Mitchell Pearce following his departure from the Roosters.

With plenty of room left under the salary cap, the recruitment drive is not yet at an end, and there may be yet more new faces at the club before the start of the new season.

Despite the recent flurry of transfer activity, the Knights are bizarrely in danger of falling foul of the new collective bargaining agreement which states that clubs must spend 95% of their salary cap - the club are currently around $1.9 million short of their target which must be fulfilled by June next year.

The eye-catching outlay will bring an anticipation for a concerted attempt to achieve finals footy next year; opposition clubs will be unsure what to expect when they come up against the new look Knights which could make them the surprise package of 2018.

Questions will be asked about how feasible it is to assimilate so many recruits, but if Brown manages to successfully find a formula to blend the new acquisitions with the pool of young talent already at his disposal, the Knights could be a force to be reckoned with next year.

The Newcastle Knights can be backed at value odds of $3.50 to finish in the Top 8 at Sportsbet.com.au




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