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Knights receive knock out blow in Canberra

The Newcastle Knights are currently one of the struggling teams in the NRL, and they travelled to Canberra desperate for a win.

This Sunday afternoon clash was between two bottom-eight sides and turned into a nail-biter. Newcastle suffered a two-point loss and were left disappointed, which is a reoccurring theme for them this season.

Their opponents, the Canberra Raiders, were quick to get out of the blocks, as they held a 14-0 lead before a late first-half Newcastle try.

The beginning of the second half was unlike the first, as it was the Knights who found themselves scoring three unanswered tries. This gave them a four-point buffer with 15 minutes remaining.

Alas, Adam O’Brien was not able to feel some rare success, as a piece of Hudson Young brilliance stole the game from Newcastle in the dying stages.

The match may not have been as enjoyable as others, but it was certainly competitive, due to arguably each of their seasons being on the line and both sides trying their absolute hearts out in the final 15 or so minutes.

The Knights’ worries continue, slumping to a poor 4-10 record, which leaves them in 12th position on the ladder. The last few weeks have been particularly frustrating for them, playing like one of the worst teams in the comp and there haven’t been many signs of improvement.

The Knights haven’t been able to execute their game plan and I believe that there is obviously an issue with the quality and recruitment of players, but there looks to be a coaching problem as well.

There’s no question regarding how passionate Adam O’Brien is, but I don’t think he is sending the right message out to the players, about how to act when their backs are against the wall.

Kalyn Ponga has been Newcastle’s best player this season and he is the guy who the side must build around. It’s unbelievable knowing the Knights were undefeated after two rounds and gave the Panthers a run for their money in Round 3. They’ve seriously dipped since then, and have won just two of their following 12.

The red-and-blue army will walk into rep break with a reason to have their heads down, before facing the Gold Coast Titans, who are currently dead last in the standings.

I strongly believe this is the last straw for Newcastle. This is a must-win and I’m not a fan of the mid-season coach firing, but another couple of losses gives a good chance of Adam O’Brien being out the door.

Due to the loss against the Raiders, the chance of Newcastle reaching the finals is honestly gone. Of course, mathematically it’s possible, however them playing September footy is not going to happen.

Newcastle would have to win at least eight of their last 10 and from what they’ve shown this season, there’s no chance.

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