St George Illawarra have all but consigned Gold Coast to the NRL wooden spoon with a drought-breaking, face-saving 40-28 win over the Titans.
Four defeats in a row is never a good sight – especially if it’s your team, and three of those matches were in front of the faithful.
Sadly, the Newcastle Knights have suffered that exact fate and their supporters – despite having to sit through the pain – are standing by them.
We Knights never quit.
That said, here are five facts about the Knights ahead of their upcoming bout against the Titans.
1. This is make or break
As they have improved in defence this year, the Knights have gone missing in attack.
The Kalyn Ponga five-eighth experiment didn’t go to plan and after an off-season based on that, a new plan has to be formed on the go.
Newcastle are a long way behind the contenders. Their season is on the line.
The four-match losing streak is made to be broken.
2. They’re not a top-four side
Put down the pitchforks, Knights supporters, and be real. You don’t go zero to 30 in the snap of your fingers. It takes way more than an hour to climb Mt Everest, so be patient.
The Knights have got a top-eight side on paper but they have got some more work to do to win the big one.
They’ll make the eight but the semi-finals will be their last stop. I hope I’m wrong.
3. They’ve got a whole season ahead of them
See that panic switch you’re about to hit? Don’t!
With 19 games left, they’ll improve and come away with more wins.
There were good signs in their loss to Manly but the game was over in the first 20. They just lacked intensity and they couldn’t recover.
That intensity and form they showed late could be brought into the next match. If so, the Titans will have a long 80 minutes to deal with.
4. Nathan Brown’s the right guy
The coach is not going anywhere.
With the 2019 recruitment drive, we got a lot of new players and they still have to blend with the team and work on the combinations.
Nathan Brown made this team by bringing them all together and all he needs to do is help them work on their attack as well as defence.
This is a tough project, but a feasible one.
5. The times they are a-changin’
Are we getting murdered as we were before? No.
Newcastle aren’t the whipping boy of the comp who were getting destroyed every week so that’s a sense of pride right there.
Our biggest loss this season is by only eight points, which is a huge improvement on previous seasons.
They have even conceded fewer points (80) than the Sydney Roosters (82). When they improve their attack, they’ll be a lethal force to deal with.