RUNNERS-UP: The Newcastle Knights first entered the Tarsha Gale Cup in 2018 with the above squad. They placed third in the regular season before falling to the Sharks in the grand final. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

The Newcastle Knights now know how their 2019 campaign will look in the Tarsha Gale Cup, with the fixtures officially released from NSW Rugby League.

The tournament’s third season – and the second for the Novocastrian under 18 outfit – is set to begin on Saturday, February 9, when the St George Dragons welcome the West Tigers to Mascot Oval.

For the Knights however their season begins against the Caterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, with the team heading south to to begin their season at 11am at the Belmore Sports Ground.

The team will return home for the first time in the third round of the competition, when they host the Penrith Panthers at St Johns Oval in Charlestown. That rugby league field will be used by the Knights all season as the Tarsha Gale Cup home base.

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Their second season in the league sees Newcastle come in as runners-up, having lost to the undefeated Cronulla Sharks 36-22 in the 2018 grand final, and the expectation that comes with that second place finish may be a factor in the Knights’ campaign.

After entering into the league at the beginning of last year, Newcastle flew under the radar for most of the season finishing in a playoff position under Josh Potapczyk, with the playing roster taking on a ‘distinctly local flair’ according to the team’s head coach.

Now they are one of the heavyweights of the competition, with more eyes turning to their off-season recruitment and selection, all of which will be revealed in the coming weeks.

The competition has also removed the bye round this season after the South Sydney Rabbitohs withdraw from the national competition coming in to 2019.

The Tarsha Gale Cup is played in an eleven-a-side format, and existing alongside other junior representative competitions the SG Ball Cup and the Harold Matthews Cup. The TG Cup season is also a proving ground for emerging young stars looking to break into the NRLW in coming years.

Read the Knights full fixture list for 2019 here.