The Newcastle Knights are reportedly the unlucky team that will miss out on playing during Magic Round next year.
With Wayne Bennett’s Dolphins entering the league next season, one club will be forced to miss the NRL’s biggest club celebration to accommodate the Queensland-based expansion side.
That team will be the Knights, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
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Knights boss Phil Gardner told the Herald the club thought it might not make the cut, but insisted that playing during Magic Round wasn’t all-important.
“We have heard rumours that we are the team to miss out next year,” he said.
“[But] it’s not our major concern at the moment. We are bothered by the uncertainty around other things like the salary cap and what is going on with the women’s competition. There is a lot of uncertainty around that for all the players”.
The Herald reports the decision was based on the fan engagement recorded from this year’s Magic Round – in which the Knights fall flat.
The NRL would not confirm which team would receive a bye in Magic Round but indicated that it would likely change every year.
“Each team is allocated three byes during the 27-round season,” an NRL spokesperson said.
“The team allocated a bye during Magic Round is a factor of the overall draw and bye distribution.
“It is likely the team allocated the bye in Magic Round will be rotated each season.”
Next year’s Magic Round is scheduled for May 5-7 at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.
The NRL is still finalising the draw for 2023.
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