We have seen the conclusion of the 2019 season, and the Sydney Roosters won back to back premierships. Congratulations.
Now as we move into the off-season, players are having fun after a long hard season and they deserve it.
As a Knights fan, I observe reports about players who may be leaving or getting hired. I don’t really believe in those reports until they are confirmed.
I also observe our young juniors making their strides and ready to burst on the scene. Phoenix Crossland, Bradman Best and Starford To’a all made their first-grade debuts in 2019. Sadly, they lost their debuts. Not to worry, Andrew Johns did as well and went on to become the greatest of all time.
Give or take a few years, they’ll be regular first-graders and they’ll be making an impact. We’ve got a whole lot of juniors bursting to make their first-grade debuts, like Tex Hoy and Brodie Jones to name only two.
When the time comes, I hope our players focus more on footy and less on partying. Jacob Saifiti, Tautau Moga and Mason Lino getting in strife wasn’t a good vibe for us. I’m not saying don’t have a good time, just when the time is right.
Think of bodybuilders. They spend months and months training for competition. They do their workouts, eat the right stuff and focus on the competition. Of course, in between work, they don’t party or muck around.
Back on the topic of Newcastle, some players will be gone to keep our juniors without going over the cap. We’re not over right now but some sacrifices will be made.
We lost five juniors last year in Brock Lamb, Jack Cogger, Cory Denniss, Luke Yates and Nick Meaney plus Dylan Phythian sacked for his drug usage. Phythian is a talent but sadly, he thought his last name was Osbourne.
Sam Stone departed this year. He wasn’t exactly world class but he was highly underrated. I understand plenty of clubs lose juniors but a great mix of local talent and great buys usually pays off.
Next year will be different for the Knights. A new year, a new logo and a new era.
I won’t make any predictions but Adam O’Brien telling Mitchell Pearce we have a top-four team is a positive sign, but our players needs to pull it off.
Plenty of teams made huge leaps in 2019.
The Parramatta Eels went from wooden-spooners in 2018 to the second week of the finals in 2019. Let’s not forget the record-breaking finals win against Brisbane.
The Manly Sea Eagles were the worst defensive team in 2018, then went to the second week of the finals in 2019.
And the Canberra Raiders finished tenth in 2018 before being runners-up in 2019.
That being said, I don’t know what will happen next year and I won’t make any more predictions. All of mine about Newcastle failed this year and came back to haunt me.
One day when we finally win the big one again, us Knights will look back and say “It was all worth it.”