A roller-coaster horror ride. That's how Knights fans will remember the 2019 season that promised so much but delivered so little.
A few days out from what will be a subdued Knights awards presentation on Wednesday, we look at who starred, who struggled and who flopped in a less than flattering post-season report card.
ON THE PODIUM
GOLD - David Klemmer
Impossible to go past the big prop, who was consistently among his side's best. His form may have fallen away after Origin but he wasn't alone and overall, was still a major contributor. Finished up averaging 170 metres and 34 tackles a game with 1323 post-contact metres, the NRL's fourth best.
SILVER - Mitch Barnett
Was solid early without being anything special but his form over the back-end of the season when a lot of his teammates were poor rocketed him up the list. One of the few players to really bleed red and blue when things got tough. Now rated a potential future captain.
BRONZE - Mitch Pearce
Largely on the strength of some great form during his side's six game winning streak, the Knights captain sneaks onto the podium. He was average early but inspirational mid-season. But all the emotion of his Origin recall left him jaded late when he was needed most with the season was on the line.
THE NEXT BEST
Connor Watson: Suffered when he was shuffled around positions but made a statement at hooker where his pace and toughness came to the fore. Still not a natural passer though and needs work.
Hymel Hunt: The only player in the squad to play all 24 games and very close to a podium finish after a really consistent season.
Kalyn Ponga: The five-eighth move failed but like Pearce, he had a dynamic middle part of the season before his form tapered off after Origin under intense scrutiny and expectation.
THE CHASING PACK
Danel Saifiti: A breakout year that saw him earn Origin selection but his strong form collapsed like most of the team late in the season.
Edrick Lee: Great contribution on the wing before a broken arm cruelly ended his season after just 14 games.
Shaun Kenny-Dowall: Never shied away from the tough carry and no-one played with any more heart each week than SKD. Disappointing to see him depart.
Sione Matautia: Played some backrow, centre and even came off the bench and made an impact in the middle, featuring strongly in several games without ever being a dominant force.
BACK IN THE FIELD
Tim Glasby: Has a big influence on the group without ever being among the side's best on the field.
Lachlan Fitzgibbon: Didn't quite build on his efforts in 2018 although his stats suggest his season wasn't as bad as some of the critics have made out.
Mason Lino: Great goalkicker but defensive issues need addressing.
Danny Levi: Small window of strong form mid-year but always under pressure.
Herman Ese'ese: Was dynamic at times with the footy but defensive flaws were exposed far too often.
Josh King: Not the fan punching bag he once was.
Jacob Saifiti: Took a long while to get over a broken leg. Will be looking for a big 2020.
Aidan Guerra: A long term injury didn't help but at 31 and after 10 seasons, questions are being asked about how long he can keep the younger forwards at bay.
James Gavet: As the season wore on, it got tougher and tougher before he was dropped to NSW Cup.
Kurt Mann: A chronic sternum injury didn't help but only a couple of strong games to hang his hat on.
Jamie Buhrer: A real leader who gave it everything but battled to get a look in.
WHO GOT LAPPED
Jesse Ramien: Didn't want to be at the club and his form reflected that.
Tautau Moga: Back from a fourth knee reconstruction but not the same player.
The potential of Bradman Best, Starford Toa and Phoenix Crossland was at least one big positive for the club.
FURNER EXCITED ABOUT CHALLENGE
New Knights assistant coach David Furner will spend the next few weeks poring over videos of the club's 24 games this season as he prepares to join Adam O'Brien in a new-look coaching team at the club.
The highly experienced Furner, who parted ways with English Super League club Leeds in controversial circumstances three months ago, admits he is excited about the challenge in Newcastle and says the vision of where the club's powerbrokers want to take the club as well as the passion in the region for rugby league is what sold him after he was approached.
"When things finished up at Leeds, I was humbled at the phonecalls I received from a few clubs and I love coaching so I was never going to be out of it,"he told us.
"Why Newcastle? I've always had a lot of respect for Newcastle from my playing days and when I was coaching. It's a massive rugby league area and I know about the passion the region has for its footy team.
"Obviously with Adam going there and just with meeting Philip Gardner and BC [Brian Canavan] and hearing their vision for the club and where it needs to be, that was a big drawcard along with the challenge that goes with it.
"I feel really comfortable about the decision.I wanted to find an opportunity where I could not only help out coaching-wise but also find a bit more stability and be able to invest not only in the team but also the community and that's what I want to do in Newcastle.
"That was a really big thing for me. I've moved around a bit and enjoyed that and been really selective in the jobs I've taken. But I just felt it was time for stability which is why I signed for three years here at the Knights."
Despite the team's dramatic late season collapse that cruelled their finals hopes and Nathan Brown's messy exit, Furner says the club can take positives from 2019.
"I certainly do think there is a very good squad there who lost a lot of tight games so there is a lot of tough lessons to be learned from the season,"he said.
"Adam will come in with his own style and it will be about establishing an identity as a team and asking the question 'what do you want to be identified by and defined as'."
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