David Klemmer to the Knights – The Winners and Losers

The most anticipated move of this NRL offseason finally happened, with (former) Dogs prop David Klemmer making the move to join the Newcastle Knights on a five year, roughly $4.3M deal. Klemmer hasn’t made a secret of his desire to move on from the Dogs, but several factors needed to play out before he got his wish and subsequent huge pay day. One of those was that Canterbury weren’t about to just let the Australian and NSW forward walk away without a ready-made replacement to fill the void. They found that in Origin counterpart Dylan Napa, who dives head first into the vacated Dogs front row position from the reigning premiers for the next three seasons.

Not only does Klemmer make the Knights a far more formidable pack, but his mongrel and go forward will help those players around him, and that will lead to Supercoach points. Klemmer’s work rate will help to drive the ball up the field and set a platform that the halves can work off. What that means is more attacking opportunities; more scoring. With all the additions over the past two off-season’s, Newcastle are in a good spot to set themselves up for a boost across the board. Klemmer himself may not benefit greatly as far as SuperCoach goes (he already averaged 56 minutes and 58 points), but his arrival has the potential to give the Knights strike weapons a nice bump in scoring.

Winners

Kalyn Ponga

Kalyn Ponga will be the greatest benefactor. He’s already a star of the league, but Brown is now floating the idea of getting him into the #6 jersey beside Mitchell Pearce. It will see him getting his hands on the ball every set and won’t be a huge change as he was playing a sort of floating playmaking role last year from fullback. It will also mean he’s right in the thick of the action. He and Connor Watson will be glued to Klemmer’s hip on every hit up waiting for an offload. He doesn’t offload often (24 in 22 games), but when he did, he averaged 8 extra metres gained. And that was with Kieran Foran, Lachlan Lewis, JMK and Will Hopoate as the recipients. Pearce, Ponga and Watson are a bit of an improvement on that lot. Besides, more points scored equals more tries, try assists and goals for KP.

Rhyse Martin

Klemmer missed a total of two games last season: rounds 17 and 21. Rhyse Martin had scores of 153 and 87 in those games. That’s not too bad I suppose. It appears less forward competition is a good thing for him. Dylan Napa is coming in but doesn’t have nearly the same tank or impact as Klemmer. He’s more there as a defensive unit. And RFM will be returning to the lineup in the new year from his injury layoff but plays out wide. I don’t see how the returning players hinder Martin’s potential. He’ll be steeply priced but may be worth a play based on that very small sample size.

Losers

Canterbury Bulldogs

It’s hard to call the Dogs a winner on this one. Yes, they were going to lose Klemmer anyway, and yes, they managed to replace him with another rep prop, but it’s not the same is it. Unless you’re talking about missing Sam Thaiday, Napa paled in comparison to the man he’s replacing. He averaged 42 minutes and 31 Supercoach points a game, a far cry from Klemmer’s 56 and 58 respectively.

Knights Front Row

From an NRL standpoint, this is great for the young Knights pack. Klemmer is instantly a leader in the engine room for the kids to learn from. He was the #1 forward in the league for metres gained per game with 181, and 2nd only to Jason Taumalolo for post-contact metres (75). That latter mark was over 30 metres more a game than the Knights leader in the same category.

But from a SuperCoach perspective, Herman Ese’ese and the Saifiti Twins are now competing for minutes with DK, Tim Glasby and James Gavet, who just joined from Melbourne and New Zealand respectively. This might also have a flow on effect to the 2nd Rowers if Ese-ese shifts to lock for parts of the game. It’s created a log jam in the forwards that hasn’t been seen in Newcastle since the glory days.

Keep an eye out for a more in-depth analysis when the 2019 team previews start dropping in the new year.

Movember

One of the co-founders, Wenin Rome, has been growing a mo’ this month in support of Movember. If you’d like to make a donation to a great cause you can so by following this link.

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Ken
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Ken

Thanks Semi and welcome back.
2019 planing is well under way.

Dieharder
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Let the pre season chat begin. Thanks Semi. Enjoyable read as always. Knights looking good for top 8 finish this year I think. Klemmer adding the starch up front.

hoof hearted
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Nice one Semi , Napa dives head first .

Huge year coming up for the knights

CoG
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CoG

Cheers semi – what an off season it has been so far -Guessing someone at the kennel will pick up Klems minutes. Hoping its not more mins for a few. Too scared to even start thinking about team makeup.

Dieharder
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Sanga tweeted on the 21st November that player prices will be out in about a fortnight. That would make there release date at the end of this week.
I’m ready to start confusing myself with options for this next season.

Ken
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Ken

So am I. I am already confused about next year and this prices haven’t come out yet. Cook had a breakout / career best year will he start massively overpriced? Is CS9 still worth starting with? How will SJ go at the Sharks? Will the Sharks start slow with Wage Graham out injured and the retirement of Lewis? Widdop usually starts well but where is his head at the moment? How will Cleary jnr go under his dad? How will Ponga go at 6 if he moves there? Will Matterson still be centre option and how many minutes will he… Read more »

Defib
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Defib

Will Kapow even be there under Des? Rumours are he could be off to Sharks I think. Although how a club under a salary cap cloud could afford SJ and Kapow, even with the loss of Holmes, is beyond me.

Ken
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Ken

I don’t know if Kapow will be at Manly next year. He keeps getting linked everywhere and Manly keep saying he is staying.

Defib
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Defib

Hello lads (and lasses). With a hectic week over I thought I had better pop my head back in a little earlier than planned ahead of the 2019 season. Its been a bit of a doozy so far with a lot to get our heads around with the Knights recruiting virtually a new 17, SJ to the “cash strapped” Sharks and Bennett now being disliked by the fans of 15 clubs (possibly even 16 depending om how many Bunnies fans don’t want him there). Now we have news that Boyd is set to play in the Centres at the Broncs… Read more »

Dravid
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Going to be interesting to see how the coach swap affects Souths and Brisbane who are two very relevant SC teams. It’ll take some time to adjust to new playing styles/philosophies.

Also plenty of talk that Flanno might not make it out of the preseason.

Is it too early to say there aren’t enough cheapies?

Defib
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Defib

Never too early. grin

Hoping Siebold bloods a few with the Broncs. Will be great to see Haas etc get more minutes with him than they ever would have with Benny.

Key thing for Broncs will be who the HB will be if rumours that Niko is being put on the market are true. Hopefully MMoses isnt the one on the Broncs Watchlist. Cant see how he would work with Milf. Isaako as a kicking Fullback may also be an interesting POD option.

Flasher
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Flasher

Ahhh, it’s so good to be talking SC again!

Thanks Semi, the Knights will certainly be an interesting ride this year and you must be pleased with how they are shaping up grin

Personally I am salivating at the thought of being able to have Ponga, Teddy and Turbo in my team this year. It could be one of the highest scoring seasons ever seen in SC. Come on Sanga, get those prices out soon!

Defib
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Defib

Welcome back Flasher.

An interesting season ahead indeed. Hopefully better than last seasons inconsistency and penalty fest that we had at the start of the season.

Flasher
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Flasher

Welcome back mate.

I hope we never see that ridiculous penalty-a-thon ever again. Rugby league lost some supporters out of that I think. Hurt the game more than doing any good for it.

Bring on ’19 and the crazy rollercoaster that is NRL and SC

Dravid
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The SC situation hasn’t really changed too much. Klemmer hasn’t really been relevant from a SC perspective for a while and the Knights forwards all had questions over their minutes (which hasn’t changed). To add to that, most people were probably going to slot Ponga in at 5/8th regardless.

Flasher
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Flasher

I am wondering how Watson will go at fullback. If both he and Ponga got DPP for 5/8FB it would be handy. Fitzy was fantastic for me last year, so hope they don’t change their style of play just because Klemmer is there.

Dravid
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Yeah Watson is an interesting one… but I suspect fullback is going to be loaded again and Watson awkwardly priced which will make it hard to pick him.

Defib
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Defib

Yeah, paid the price of not going with my gut re-Fitzy last year. Won’t be making that mistake again this year with him and a few other of my “gut” calls.

CoG
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CoG

The half and 5/8 spots look tough next year -Mlf , SJ. Hiku ? , Widdflop contenders for 5/8
Halfback looks a bit trickier with Cleary and Morgs looking ok but not gee whizz
Also barba looms as an alternative in FB but pricing will matter .Forgot the Munster if he goes to fb at melb

Defib
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Defib

Problem with last year is none of the HBs or 5/8ths scored consistently. Some like Widflop perform for a few weeks then flopped for the season and then some like Milf flattered to deceive all year and didnt really score at all.

Personally wont be going near Widdop and will be steering clear of Milf if he is partnered up with KNik or Moses.

CoG
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CoG

That the problem right there . I can find more reasons to not pick any them than i can to pick them . More traps than the “Sound of music “

Magpies4Eva007
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Magpies4Eva007

Geez Semi, anyone would think that you’re a Knights tragic! Welcome back mate. Will be an interesting season. I’m actually hoping Ponga doesn’t get 5/8 status because everyone will start with the Teddy, Turbo, Ponga combo. Missed your NFL insight over the offseason but good learning curve. All the best for season guys. Oh and the gals too … forgot about #metoo. Have to tread very lightly these days.

TugSpeedman
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TugSpeedman

Yewwww SC is back!
Good write up to start the season Semi. Can’t wait to start planning the side.
Knights are definitely going to have a few players that I’m keen on kicking off the year with.