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Opinion

Newcastle's winning culture must return

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Roar Guru
18th May, 2021
9

Newcastle is a hardworking town with massive pride for their beloved Knights.

When you talk about Newcastle you just can’t resist talking about the Knights. The locals love to talk about them. As a Penrith native, I became a Knights fan when I was a young boy, and now living in Newcastle, I can finally see the DNA the town shares with the team.

During their peak years, from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s, we had that winning culture. Our home ground was a feared fortress. We didn’t always win, but we made sure all those who played us there knew it just wasn’t going to be a game of football; it was going to be a war, and that’s what we gave them.

All this talk about how the Knights have ‘lost their soul’ to me is a load of rubbish. All teams go through their struggles. Take a look the Cronulla Sharks of 2014-16. In 2014 they won the wooden spoon but in 2016 finally won their first premiership.

Instead of losing their soul, we have lost that winning culture, and most teams do tend to struggle after success. The St George Illawarra Dragons post-2010 is a great example.

I have said this at least 20 times and will do so as many times as I have to: we are not in rebuilding anymore. It is all done. It can no longer be used as an excuse.

Knights fans

(Photo by Ashley Feder/Getty Images)

Fans stuck with our team when they needed us, and we need to redevelop the idea of a winning culture. The idea of a winning culture is to feel empowered to move the team forward. It’s mind over matter.

Think of going to the gym and wanting to break your record deadlift – you want to be in there with an attitude that says, “I am going to do this”, not “I will try my best”. You’ve got to be in it to win it.

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To the Knights fans still in the mindset of rebuilding: I urge you to remember when we had the winning culture in the peak years. We always had that confidence our team would win. The fans need to contribute to the team’s winning culture and attitude. I will always be a proud Knight regardless of the result – but I always want them to win.

When our team wins, so do we and vice versa. As a fan base we have to encourage our players to win. Our team can win any game on any given day; what they need is positive encouragement from their fans before the ball is kicked.

I just don’t think the Knights have the mindset or the winning culture we had before because of how long we were rebuilding. If anything, this is simply the aftermath. Instead of rebuilding, we are reclaiming the winning culture we once had. It’s not just going to be handed to us on a silver platter; the players need to bring it to the field and the fans need to bring it with them.

No matter who the Knights play, I always believe they can win. Why? Because I do have a positive attitude and a winning personality. When the Knights played in Wagga Wagga I was in attendance – and I didn’t wake up at 2am to get there thinking we would lose. I went there thinking it’s a game we have the ability to win, just like we do with any other.

And guess what? We won.

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Winning culture isn’t just in the players, but it’s also in the fans. We need to be optimistic for our players and ready to encourage them. Our players need the support and encouragement of their fans.

This weekend we play the Cowboys. I believe we can win. Do you?

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