RUGBY LEAGUE: Newcastle Knights heralded a turn of fortune for the club in their opening round golden-point victory over Manly Sea Eagles.

The moment Mitchell Pearce slammed the field goal between the sticks, the crowd in McDonald Jones Stadium erupted. Move over Joey, the Knights have a new cult hero.

But was the win the start of a surge for the Novocastrians, or are fans going off too early?

MOOSE: Perserverance paying off for the Knights

ROUND 1, 2018 will be known by many as the turning point for the Newcastle Knights.

But that isn't where it truly started.

There was a moment in July last year when Knights chairman Brian McGuigan had publicly requested the sacking of coach Nathan Brown and CEO Matt Gidley.

He was denied this by former ARL boss, and then Knights director, John Quayle.

It was the smartest move the Knights have made in the past decade.

Quayle, an NRL visionary who instituted the NSWRL back in the 1980s, understood Brown's gameplan. He was at the coalface, attempting to bring a club back from the brink, set up by myriad of bad decisions in the past five years.

From the day he walked into the Knights, Brown knew it was going to be a tough slog.

But he also had a silver lining on the horizon with Wests Group buying out the embattled club last year and absolving them of all debt.

It opened the door for Brown to complete his plan of stacking the side with genuine young talent (mostly local) and a few seasoned campaigners.

That plan came to fruition in the first round win against Manly. A match which starred future State of Origin player Kalyn Ponga beside one of the most-capped Origin players Mitch Pearce.

Players like TauTau Moga and Connor Watson line up with Aiden Guerra and Chris Heighington. Age and wisdom, young and talented.

It is a top eight mix.

POTTSY: One game a season does not make

AFTER all the pain and suffering the Newcastle Knights have been through over the past three years, there was almost a sense of relief when Mitchell Pearce's field goal sailed over the black dot to give them a golden-point win over Manly in the first round clash.

After all the pre-season talk of signings and training and learning how to win, it seemed as if the team had arrived, and the celebration among the players at full time was fantastic to witness.

However, one game a season does not make.

Let's not forget how well the Dragons started last year, winning six of their first seven games, before their points dried up and they found themselves in free-fall, missing the top eight by two points.

For the die-hard Newcastle supporters, it's a huge boost in confidence to see their team grind out a hard-fought win, though they probably should have wrapped up the game in 80 minutes.

Now they've got their first win under their belt, the expectations will be high they can keep playing good footy and make it to finals football for the first time in five years.

There's a lot of football to be played from now to September, and anything can happen.

While it's a positive start, I'd hate to see expectations run high only for them to be crushed by injury, poor form or any of the other thousand reasons why a football team starts losing matches.

The pieces are all there, the question remains over whether they'll fit into place.



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