With all the hype and expectation swirling around his team, Knights coach Nathan Brown must have breathed a big sigh of relief after last week's gutsy victory over Cronulla.
It wasn't picture-perfect by any means, but it was a gritty win over an experienced, talented side and showed Brown the revamped Knights are prepared to tough it out.
Now comes the tricky bit - keeping the Knights playing at a high level for the next 24 rounds.
The Panthers are another coveted scalp but you'd have to think they'll be stinging to bounce back after being upstaged by Paramatta in round one.
Match: Knights v Panthers
Round 2 -
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
Knights: Herman Ese'ese replaces the injured Daniel Saifiti (knee) on the bench. Jamie Buhrer and Brodie Jones were omitted from the 21-man squad on Friday night.
Panthers: Malakai Watene-Zelezniak replaces Josh Mansour (shoulder) on the wing, Moses Leota starting at prop and Reagan Campbell-Gillard to come off the bench. Sione Katoa returns from concussion at hooker, with Wayde Egan moving to the bench and Jarome Luai out of the 17. Frank Winterstein replaces Tyrell Fuimaono on the interchange.
Fullback for Knights is number 1 Connor WatsonFullback for Panthers is number 1 Dylan Edwards
Winger for Knights is number 2 Edrick LeeWinger for Panthers is number 5 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak
Centre for Knights is number 3 Hymel HuntCentre for Panthers is number 3 Dean Whare
Centre for Knights is number 4 Jesse RamienCentre for Panthers is number 4 Waqa Blake
Winger for Knights is number 5 Shaun Kenny-DowallWinger for Panthers is number 21 Malakai Watene-Zelezniak
Five-Eighth for Knights is number 6 Kalyn PongaFive-Eighth for Panthers is number 6 James Maloney
Halfback for Knights is number 7 Mitchell PearceHalfback for Panthers is number 7 Nathan Cleary
Prop for Knights is number 8 David KlemmerProp for Panthers is number 8 James Tamou
Hooker for Knights is number 9 Danny LeviHooker for Panthers is number 9 Sione Katoa
Prop for Knights is number 10 James GavetProp for Panthers is number 16 Moses Leota
2nd Row for Knights is number 11 Lachlan Fitzgibbon2nd Row for Panthers is number 11 James Fisher-Harris
2nd Row for Knights is number 12 Sione Mata'utia2nd Row for Panthers is number 12 Isaah Yeo
Lock for Knights is number 13 Tim GlasbyLock for Panthers is number 13 Hame Sele
Interchange for Knights is number 14 Kurt MannInterchange for Panthers is number 10 Reagan Campbell-Gillard
Interchange for Knights is number 15 Aidan GuerraInterchange for Panthers is number 14 Wayde Egan
Interchange for Knights is number 16 Mitchell BarnettInterchange for Panthers is number 15 Frank Winterstein
Interchange for Knights is number 17 Herman Ese'eseInterchange for Panthers is number 17 Jack Hetherington
- Referee: Dave Munro
- Referee: Chris Sutton
- Touch Judge: Nick Morel
- Touch Judge: Rickey MacFarlane
- Video Referee: Beau Scott
- Senior Review Official: Henry Perenara
Simply can't go past the heavyweight bout in the halves between three incumbent Origin players and one former Blues playmaker who has more Origin experience than the other three combined. The outcome of this game depends largely on the battle between Newcastle duo Mitchell Pearce and Kalyn Ponga and Panthers pair Nathan Cleary and James Maloney.
For the Knights to win
As mentioned Ponga and Pearce have to play starring roles, but they will only be able to make things happen if the likes of Dave Klemmer and his fellow big men create time and space by nullifying Penrith's forwards.
For the Panthers to win
As much as they might refute the theory, the Panthers didn't really show up in the first half against the Eels and paid the price. Slow starts plagued them last season and they better be ready to go against the improved Knights.
Brett Kimmorley says ...
Newcastle were great in completion rate and energy, and Mitchell Pearce controlled things with a great kicking game. I think David Klemmer is the leader and key for the Knights. If Klemmer keeps repeating that form, Mitchell Pearce can control things with a nice kicking game. Penrith hurt themselves last week with a bit of poor ball control and ill-discipline. If they can get themselves in front early it will really help. Knights by 2
Knights stat attack
David Klemmer had a huge impact in his team's first-round home win over the Sharks. The former Bulldogs prop had 20 runs for 218m, including 90 post-contact metres. He had 19 hit-ups and three off-loads and also racked up 33 tackles without a single miss.
Panthers stat attack
The conditions were bad but the Panthers only had themselves to blame for last week's surprise home loss to the Eels. Penrith had just 40% of possession and completed at 62%. Discipline was also an issue with the penalties 10-2 in favour of Parra.
Played 47, Newcastle 24, Penrith 20, drawn 3
At McDonald Jones Stadium
Played 23, Penrith 12, Newcastle 11
And another thing ...
If they're not at the game you'd reckon league lovers everywhere will be settling into the armchair for this Saturday evening encounter. Maloney and Pearce were teammates at the Roosters and for the Blues and share a friendly but fiercely competitive rivalry. Then there's Ponga v Cleary - a compelling script we could see played out on various big stages for the next 10 years.