Olivia Kernick went from playing in the Tarsha Gale Cup grand final with the Knights, to shining on the national stage with the NSW Blues in the first women's under 18s State of Origin fixture.

The Newcastle Knights have been handed a tricky opening three weeks to their Tarsha Gale Cup campaign in 2020, as the Hunter squad looks to make it third time the charm in their bid for a women’s development championship.

Newcastle has shone in the past two years during the regular season under head coach Josh Potapcyzk, running fourth in 2018 before building on their strong first campaign with a second-place finish last time around.

Both campaigns have seen the Knights march to the grand final, but crowning glory on the big day has eluded them—in 2018, Cronulla walked away with the chocolates after a 36–22 battle, and Newy fell again against the Steelers last year, 24–12.

This time around, the challenge may have been front-loaded to the start of the regular season, with both grand final rivals waiting in the wings for the Knights after a first-round matchup with perennial development leaders the Dragons.

Read more recent news

After a journey on the road to face St George at Morry Breen Oval on the Central Coast, the Knights return home for a battle against 2018 finals rivals the Sharks at Maitland Sportsground as part of an NRL preseason doubleheader.

Then, the young development squad has a chance at revenge for last year’s decider at Bankwest Stadium, when they travel to Wollongong to play the Illawarra Steelers at Collegians Sporting Complex on February 22.

The Knights will be looking to make it ‘third time the charm’ in their 2020 Tarsha Gale Cup campaign.

NSW Rugby League’s women’s development league has also confirmed a new set of rule changes for the upcoming 2020 season—after a handful of years as a short-format, 11-a-side competition, the TG Cup will now be moving to 13-a-side.

The league will also be changed to match the National Rugby League Women’s format of two 30-minute halves, to further bring it in line with the top-flight comp.

The Tarsha Gale Cup finals are expected to begin in April. Last season, the top eight teams broke into an NRL-based playoff system format.

Newcastle Knights 2020 TG Cup fixtures

  • Dragons vs Knights, Saturday, February 8, 10am at Morry Breen Oval, Central Coast
  • Knights vs Sharks, Saturday, February 15, 1.30pm at Maitland Sports Ground, Newcastle
  • Steelers vs Knights, Saturday, February 22, 12pm at Collegians Sporting Complex, Wollongong
  • Knights vs Bulldogs, Saturday, February 29, 12.30pm at Maitland Sports Ground, Newcastle
  • Eels vs Knights, Saturday, March 7, 11.30am at Ringrose Park, Sydney
  • Knights vs Raiders, Saturday, March 14, 12.30pm at Cessnock Sports Ground, Cessnock
  • Knights vs Tigers, Saturday, March 21, 11am at Cessnock Sports Ground, Cessnock
  • Panthers vs Knights, Saturday, March 28, 10.30am at Panthers Stadium, Penrith
  • Knights vs Roosters, Saturday, April 4, 11am at St Johns Oval, Newcastle