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Opinion

Winning culture rediscovered, the Knights are back-to-back finalists

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Roar Guru
26th August, 2021
9

After a tight and suspenseful thriller the Newcastle Knights clipped the Gold Coast Titans 15-14 thanks to a matchwinning field goal by Mitchell Pearce with 17 seconds left on the clock.

After running down two separate six-point leads from the Titans, the Knights took the lead via Jake Clifford slotting a penalty goal, only for Jamal Fogarty to mirror him and ratchet up the suspense.

Then came Pearce’s field goal – the 100th scored by a Knights player against the Titans – to win the game for Newcastle and seal their fate at seventh for the second year in a row.

After a roller-coaster of a season, the Knights managed to find their way into the eight with five wins on the trot. Considering Mitchell Pearce and Jake Clifford are 6-0 as a halves pairing, one may ask what would have been of this season had the Knights been at full strength from the onset. But then other teams like the Roosters still step up with injuries, so we can’t make any excuses.

Newcastle managed to make the eight for the second year in a row – the side hasn’t made back-to-back finals since 2002-03. We needed to learn to win clutch games, and we have. I just hope none of my fellow Knights supporters suffers any heart attacks along the way. My heart only beats this fast when I’m either powerlifting or watching a movie based on a Stephen King novel – I guess we can add watching the Knights play in a tight game to that list as well.

I feel like slowly but surely our winning culture is coming back. Adam O’Brien’s mission is to bring it back, and that’s exactly what he is doing. It’s a long process, and we’re getting there. As a Knights fan I’m very proud to say that we’re in the finals again – although I don’t know how far we will go, and I won’t make any predictions.

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To all Knights fans, whether we’re friends or acquaintances or even if we don’t see eye to eye, let’s be proud of how far we have come, from being a team that won only one game in 2016 to a side that’s made the finals in back-to-back years.

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