It’s the Newcastle Knights’ most-prized time-slot.
But once again, the club has been dudded by the NRL and its broadcast partners Channel Nine and Fox Sports with Newcastle set to play only two Sunday games at McDonald Jones Stadium in 2019 for the second consecutive year.
While the draw for next season won’t be officially released until Wednesday, the Newcastle Herald has learned the stadium has only been pre-booked by the NRL on two occasions on a Sunday.
Of the other 10 home games, it is believed six will be Saturday games with a further four on Friday nights.
In something of a consolation given it is considered the graveyard time-slot for fans, it’s understood the Knights have not been allocated any Thursday night games.
For the second consecutive year, Newcastle is poised to open the 2019 season at home on a Friday night at 6pm.
According to reports, the Knights have been drawn to meet the Cronulla Sharks in round one.
Last season, Mitchell Pearce kicked a memorable golden point field goal in his Knights NRL debut to give his side a 19-18 win over Manly in the same time-slot.
It is unclear at this stage how many of their other three Friday night games will be played at 6 pm, a time not considered popular with fans, even though the Knights have fared far better with crowds figures than most Sydney clubs.
Last season, they drew 23,516 for the Manly game, 22,718 against South Sydney and 14,801 against Penrith.
They have averaged almost 20,000 in the time-slot over the past two seasons.
Sport: Newcastle Knights news
It is also understood the 6pm Friday night game has proven popular with Knights corporates and is looked apon far more favourably than an early afternoon Saturday game.
But nothing beats Sunday afternoon at the footy and once again, the Knights’ pleas to the NRL for more Sunday games in 2019 appear to have largely fallen on deaf ears.
After being allocated four Sunday home games in 2016, the club was given just two last season and will fare no better next year.
“It’s disappointing because a great Sunday afternoon always draws a bumper crowd,” one source close to the club said.
“And there is the opportunity to play more than just one game when it is a Sunday afternoon. It is far more difficult to schedule more than one game when the NRL side plays at 6 pm on a Friday.”
The Knights have set a record-breaking target of securing more than 20,000 members next season with the club already almost halfway towards achieving its goal with five months to go before kick-off.
Knights players will return from their off-season break for the start of pre-season training on Monday week with Storm prop Tim Glasby, Sharks backs Jesse Ramien and Edrick Lee and Warriors playmaker Mason Lino the confirmed new faces in the squad.