As we progress into a new era under Adam O’Brien, we still have some who doubt the guy. Do I doubt him?
Five weeks ago, Newcastle Knights had a horrid 1-5 run in which many supporters, including yours truly, were asking a lot of questions, particularly about Nathan Brown.
I will admit I had my doubts on Brown and I admit I was wrong. I’m not ashamed that I was wrong, I am more ashamed I lost my faith in the guy. No point repeating what he did for us.
After losing five in a row and just as bad as our 2017 season (in 2016, we were 1-4-1), we truly turned it all around. Newcastle after being horribly thrashed against the Titans faced Parramatta fresh off their own their own thrashing of the Tigers. I went to the game having a feeling that game was going to be one which will make us Newcastle supporters proud and I wasn’t wrong.
We came away with a 28-14 win. The next week against the Warriors across the Tasman Sea we got the win 36-18, followed up with another win against the Bulldogs 22-10, slayed the Dragons 45-12 then followed up with a convincing thrashing of the reigning premiers 38-12.
Fun fact, in those five games Kalyn Ponga scored 88 points and Newcastle conceded 66.
Newcastle are now after 11 rounds at a 6-5 record (with five wins on the trot), which is the exact opposite of last year’s 5-6 tally. We got the bye coming up (our toughest battle to date) then we have South Sydney in Sydney then Melbourne in Melbourne. Those two encounters will be even more difficult tests. Not just on the football field, but also mentally.
A lot of people wonder what has made the difference. I have a few ideas which come to mind. I believe the fans showing their passion will have a big part into it but Mitchell Pearce has been leading the charge and not just because he’s the skipper. He’s been the heart and soul of the club since Nathan Ross was forced into retirement.
Nathan Ross was said moniker during the Knights’ rebuilding days and Mitchell Pearce is for the run to the finals. In five weeks, the Knights have gone from the bottom of the ladder to the top four (thank you Cowboys) and the second-best defensive team.
Mitchell Pearce has been in the best form of his career. Not one can remember him playing this well. A lot of people have been wondering how is this possible, and I do have a theory.
At the Sydney Roosters, everyone saw Mitchell Pearce as “Wayne Pearce’s son” and overhyped him. He was thrown into State of Origin aged 19 and couldn’t cope with the pressure. Sounds familiar?
Jarrod Mullen was hyped as the next Andrew Johns and eventually the pressure got to him. That went really well, didn’t it? Back to Pearce; ever since he became a Knight, he was able to cope with the pressure of the rebuild because we see him as Mitchell Pearce, not “Wayne Pearce’s son”.
Newcastle have gone from the team to beat to the team many don’t want to face. We’re not the in-form team of the competition yet and our next games will be tests. The players, coaching staff and supporters all did their bit in the rebuild and now we’re eagerly awaiting our next finals run.
Roarers, do you think the Knights are the in-form team of the competition?