Former Dragons mentor Wayne Bennett now coaches the Knights. Source: couriermail.com.au
The Knights and Dragons get the 2012 NRL season underway when they clash at Hunter Stadium on Thursday night with ‘supercoach’ Wayne Bennett to lead Newcastle against his former club. Bennett takes charge of the Knights for the first time in the NRL after three years with St George. He is not the only former Dragon that will be lining up in red and blue, with Darius Boyd amongst those set to take on his previous club. Prodigal sons Timana Tahu and Danny Buderus were also named in the squad, alongside big name recruit Kade Snowden.
Dragons skipper Ben Hornby will play his 250th NRL match for the Dragons, while Kyle Stanley will get first crack at the fullback position vacated by Boyd. Representative backrower Beau Scott has be named to play at centre following the retirement of Mark Gasnier.
History: The Dragons have historically had the wood over the Knights, winning fifteen of the 24 meetings between the sides. Their record at Hunter Stadium is even more commanding, with wins in eleven of the thirteen games between the sides at the ground. The clubs scored a win each in last year’s two meetings, although the Knights were victorious 14-10 in the most recent clash in round 17.
Dangermen: Flyer Akuila Uate has been the Knights leading tryscorer in the past couple of seasons and shapes as the main threat to the Dragons tryline, although Kurt Gidley crossed the line first for them in two of their last three games last season.
Matt Cooper was the leading regular season tryscorer for St George in 2011, although Australian winger Brett Morris also has a great tryscoring record.
Prediction: The Knights recruited well in the off season and much is expected of them in 2012. Despite their poor record against the Dragons, they should have too much firepower for their opponents who will be hurt by the loss of key players. Knights 1-12
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