If there was any doubt that Phil Gould is one of the shrewdest operators in the business, the Bulldogs general manager has proven it once again in the past week.
Celebrating Easter is an annual event. However, the Newcastle Knights didn’t get to celebrate it happily after going down in consecutive weeks at home, this time to St George Illawarra Dragons 22-13.
This was an unfortunate loss for our team but not as unfortunate as losing three players – Mitchell Pearce, Tex Hoy and Kurt Mann. Despite great wins in the hi-vis jersey, many of us are thinking it’s cursed. With the luck we have had with injuries, it really sucks.
As a Knights fan, despite playing with only one man left on the bench, I truly admired how they never gave up. There was a time that the Knights would have given up and let the opposition just kill them. We’ve got 20 games left for the year and we will be back as the season proceeds.
One thing I still urge Knights fans to do is to remain patient. I know I have said this numerous times but to be realistic, our system isn’t just going to randomly flourish. There’s some work to be done.
All the teams with a great system needed to build it. To make one thing clear: we are not in the rebuilding process anymore, we have successfully completed that.
In 2018, the rebuilding was complete and now in our second year under Adam O’Brien, we’re building towards a much more winning culture, the culture we need as a team to succeed. I know our past two losses may contradict my point but you’ll not go through a season undefeated.
To be a constant powerhouse team, we need to build the players’ platform and keep on building it. That doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a long gruelling process with years of hard work and labour.
Everyone has to do their part, including the coaches, players and fans. The coaches do their job and the players do their role. As fans, our role is to cheer the players on when they need us and that is with every game regardless the result.
It’s not like all the biggest businesses in the world actually started off as big as they are now.
Think of Bill Gates – he started Microsoft from his garage, the ground level, and with all the hard work and effort he put into his company, as well as uniting with Apple in 1997, he succeeded and is now among the world’s richest people.
The combination with Apple saved them from bankruptcy. How is that related to the Knights? It’s simple: don’t rush the process, make the right moves and let it build over time.
I know we all want success now and it’s not a quick process but take a look at the Penrith Panthers. Phil Gould’s ‘five-year plan’ may have taken longer than five years but now they’re one of the best teams of the modern era and favourites to win the big one.
Because they built the platform and now they are aiming to bring in the success that comes with it.
The Newcastle Knights are building it and we will get there.
I know we have a lot of naysayers but screw what they think. We have once been there before – the Knights’ glory days of the late 90s-early 2000s.
1995-2003 were the glory years for the Knights and despite winning only two premierships, all but one of those years I mentioned saw us in the finals.
We will have a new set of glory days.
Losing back-to-back games is never easy and doing so in front of sold out home crowds stings.
With all the injuries we have, we can’t let them get to us.
On another note, I still think Adam O’Brien is the right man for the job. All he learnt from Craig Bellamy and Trent Robinson has been transitioned to the Knights, bit-by-bit.
It’s a slow process but it will be worth it.
In the press conference, he mentioned that the plan was to make sure within 24 hours, we move on from this loss and focus on the Titans.
Next week, we have the Titans and even though all odds are against us, I’m not writing us off. With our minds to it, great execution and the will to win, anything is possible.