Outgoing Newcastle Knights coach Nathan Brown has admitted his team’s poor showing against the Wests Tigers is a reflection of the situation the club finds itself in.
Saturday’s result at Brookvale was a loss all of us Knights supporters didn’t want to see.
Beaten 30-6 by a rampant Manly side, things simply fell apart in the second half. Similar to the loss against Roosters at the SCG, Newcastle were in it until being run over in the final 20 minutes. The Knights had endless opportunities but only cashed in once.
In our last five matches of the regular season, we only have two games at home and three of them are on the road against teams higher than us on the ladder.
Do I think they’re winnable games? I do, but the team has to play the full 80 minutes with full-on acceleration and never let go, like they did in the run of six wins in a row.
In those games, Newcastle were ruthless and aggressive. I don’t know what’s happened to that team but this side seems to lack the will and desire to succeed. The loss of Jesse Ramien may have happened but he never looked like he wanted to be in a Knights jersey in the first place.
In the early years of the club, Newcastle blooded their juniors to become a dominant force that always competed and never quit. Yesterday only saw five Knights juniors and shockingly none in our back line.
I can see a lot of back-line Knights juniors putting their hand up for a first-grade spot. Sure, between 2015 and 2017 thats what we did, but that was in the aftermath of the Nathan Tinkler fiasco.
Now we have got a decent forward pack mixed with experience Knights juniors and top signings. We’ve got juniors who want to play for us in first grade and I don’t think letting anymore go is what we want.
The old-school spirit we had of players playing for the town has returned, and as time goes on, it will be just as big as it was in the early years. During the days of the Johns brothers, the Chief, Danny Buderus, Billy Peden and Mark Glanville, we had hometown legends who bled for the club.
I’m not making tips on who to let go – nor do I think we should release players en masse – just let some of the older players take the back seat.
In the back line, you’ve got up-and-coming guns in Phoenix Crossland, Tex Hoy and Starford To’a, who are big threats whether as a fullback, wing or centre.
Mix them with most of the current crop we have from other clubs like Mitchell Pearce, Kalyn Ponga, Connor Watson and David Klemmer then give them a few years and they’ll be a destructive force to be reckoned with in the competition.