Six of the Newcastle Knights first eight games next season will be away from home

THE Newcastle Knights, who have won only one of their past 25 games away from home, face six of their first eight games on the road next season.

After the official release of the 2018 NRL draw on Thursday, it appears the three-time wooden spooners will be under pressure from the outset. Yet if they can break even during this daunting period they will enjoy a run of home games mid-season.

They play six of this season’s top-eight teams – premiers Melbourne, Manly, the Roosters, Penrith, Cronulla and Parramatta – twice.

Newcastle open their campaign with a home game against Manly on Friday, March 9 (6pm), then are away against Canberra, the Roosters and St George Illawarra.

RARE SIGHT: Knights players celebrate their only away win of 2017, against Parramatta.

RARE SIGHT: Knights players celebrate their only away win of 2017, against Parramatta.

In round five they are at home against the Broncos, before consecutive away games against Melbourne, Wests Tigers and Manly.

Between rounds nine and 12, they play three of four games at home. Then between rounds 14 and 21, they play six of seven games at home.

Their schedule winds up with three consecutive away games before a final-round home game against the Dragons on Old Boys Day, Saturday, September 1.

Newcastle’s only away win in the past two seasons was a 29-10 upset against Parramatta in round 23 this year.

Newcastle’s full schedule is:

Rd 1 v Manly (h)

Rd 2 v Canberra (a)

Rd 3 v Roosters (a)

Rd 4 v St George Illawarra (a)

Rd 5 v Brisbane (h)

Rd 6 v Melbourne (a)

Rd 7 v Wests Tigers (a)

Rd 8 v Manly (a)

Rd 9 v South Sydney (h)

Rd 10 v Penrith (h)

Rd 11 v Gold Coast (a)

Rd 12 v Cronulla (h)

Rd 13 v Parramatta (a)

Rd 14 v Roosters (h)

Rd 15 v Melbourne (h)

Rd 16 v Canterbury (h)

Rd 17 v bye

Rd 18 v Parramatta (h)

Rd 19 v Gold Coast (h)

Rd 20 v North Queensland (a)

Rd 21 v Wests Tigers (h)

Rd 22 v Warriors (a)

Rd 23 v Penrith (a)

Rd 24 v Cronulla (a)

Rd 25 v St George Illawarra (h)