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Knights a long way off where they need to be after disappointing 2022

After a promising start to the season, Newcastle Knights ended their horrific season with a 38-16 demolition by the Cronulla Sharks at home on Old Boys Day.

It seemed from last year, we could be on the rise to where we want to be as a team but now the question I ask is, where did it go wrong?

Here are some answers.

1. Releasing Mitchell Pearce without a decent replacement

Mitchell Pearce brought the leadership to the club which it has so lacked. He may not have been able to set the world on fire with the Knights but his effort did help bring a potential winning culture back to us. Losing him was a massive blow.

2. Jayden Brailey’s injury

Our captain in the pre-season tore his ACL and was set to be out for the season. Thankfully, he was able to return but by the time he did so, Newcastle’s mission wasn’t to make the eight, it was to avoid the wooden spoon. If Kalyn Ponga remains co-skipper, he should be given the right mentorship in the role.

3. Mitchell Barnett’s elbow strike

Newcastle were playing amazing free-flowing football until that incident. Look how well they went, winning their opening two with a 46-10 for and against and having the attitude you want to see in a football team who don’t just want to play, want to win. That send off brought the team down and that’s the point I knew our season was over.

(Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

Murthy’s Law: anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Now the psychological effect will bring you down and for the matter of a football team, they’ll follow suit and won’t be able to lift their heads. Manly after the jersey saga can verify that.

Where to go for the Knights?

1. Fix the culture

Our players need to be educated on how the team was brought up – win for the town, the fans and each other. Focus on fighting for the win.

2. Will sacking the coach work?

It’s a no for me. It doesn’t matter who the coach is. Adam O’Brien came to town off a team built by Nathan Brown. While the club’s culture needs to be fixed, no coach will make a difference.

3. Build and stick with a consistent team

The chop and change technique has become very obsolete. It brings inconsistency and they can’t work on combinations. If I could pick my spine, I’ll go with:

1. Kalyn Ponga
6. Tyson Gamble
7. Phoenix Crossland
9. Jayden Brailey

We’ve got a great back line and top forwards. If we can build a great long-term spine, we’ll cause some serious damage.

Just want to see them play full 80 and win.

4. The fans need to back off

There has been so much online bashing about how players aren’t “first grade standard” or how the coach sucks. Well, if you’ve never played in the NRL or coached a team in the NRL or even work for the Knights, you’re not qualified to make a call on it.

I know one Knights group that has become an online toxic environment. Here’s an idea: if you think you can do better then prove it, and if not, shut the hell up! The players know what the online “experts” say. I believe in right to free speech and if people want to criticise me negatively, I really don’t care but not everyone shares that kind of attitude.

When I go to football games, I don’t want to just see the Knights play, I want to see them win. Maybe we need to encourage our players to win and they will.

We are the most passionate and loyal fans in the league. We need to back that up every single week and show our team we want them to succeed. Us fans can give constructive criticism and not go online bashing.

Now for the finals, I always look forward to finals footy and my pick to win is Cronulla. They have worked their system in a way to get to where they want.

So, Roarers, what do you think? Where to for the Knights?

And who will win the grand final and why?

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