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Brown highlights possession issues

nib Newcastle Knights coach Nathan Brown and captain Sione Mata'utia spoke to the media following Saturday's loss on the Gold Coast.

“One of our biggest issues is weight of possession,” said the Knights coach.

“We were making metres especially in that middle period of the half and did really well, I thought our middles in theory got on top of their middles.

“Whether it be through good defence from them throwing us into touch in tackle one or us dropping it on tackle two or three, the weight of possession hurt us a little bit.

“We come in at halftime and start off our first set really good, get a nice kick away and they get a bit of an unload here and there, get six again and score a try that was a pretty soft try.

“All of a sudden, we don’t have the ball for 15 or 16 minutes and that weight of possession kills us with our development of our younger players."

Brown admits while some players were outstanding in the first half, the second half was a different story.

“Danny Levi I though was far superior to young Peatsey (Nathan Peats) who is an outstanding player, he’s obviously a lot more physically developed,” explained Brown.

“When we don’t have the ball for 15, 16 minutes it’s hard for him to get his game going and we’ve got a lot players like that who unfortunately when the weight of possession keeps going against us, we can’t mentally hang through it long enough.

“A (Melbourne) Storm or Cronulla (Sharks) would hang through it and maybe leak a try or two but they find a way to get back into the contest through their experience, their mental capacity.

“For us, we leak two then our attack goes poor and then players look like they’re not good players.

“They will be a lot better as they play more games and they train harder and get to play with some more experienced players.”

Captain Mata’utia agreed percentage of possession made their job a lot harder.

“When the weight of possession is against us, you’re doing so much more tackling,” commented Mata’utia.

“We can’t execute our plans in attack because physically it does suck the juice out.”

Brown felt if his team went set for set in the second half, there was a good chance they could’ve closed the match out.

“I thought we really worked our way into the game and started to look on top and then for 12 or so minutes they had a lot of ball on us,” he said.

“We held them out quite a number of times which was great and the second half if we could have got an even share of possession, I thought the score would have been far closer.

“We find it hard to swing the momentum, we lose that much juice and our attacking game does really fall.

“We had 50/50 possession for 20 something minutes and we started to look good, our forwards were looking strong and Brock Lamb had his best all round half of footy but the back half we lose possession and we don’t have the ball at all and we physically struggle.

“As a group we’ve all got to look for ways to get the ball back a little bit more whether it’s a little more aggressive defence, whether it’s competing for kicks better, putting the ball in the in goal a few more times, executing things a little bit better.”

Despite the big swing in the second half, Mata’utia felt they still could’ve won.

“I came back on after I passed the HIA and I came with the mentality that I thought we could have come back,” he added.

“We leaked a few more tries and at that point I think it was about finishing strong and having a bit of pride in the jersey, trying to get the most out of the time left.”

Meanwhile the Knights coach said young forward Josh King was given his first NRL start for 2017 as a reward for his consistent performance.

“Josh has been really good in reserve grade, he’s been back there for a fair period and he’s been playing really well,” Brown said.

“Tupes (Anthony Tupou) was brought to the Club because we had hardly any experienced players, he was desperate to come to the club to offer his experience.

“Some weeks he’ll play and some weeks he’ll be overlooked in favour of the younger kids which he understands his role within the club so it’s not a form thing.

“Josh deserved to play and young (Sam) Stone and (Luke) Yatesy deserved to play because they’ve been playing consistently well.

“We are really comfortable that the young guys have made some big progress, we know it would be far better with Rory (Kostjasyn) and Jamie (Buhrer).

“The experienced blokes at the club would help in these situations like today, they’re great talkers and great leaders for us so not having them there doesn’t help the situation we’re in."

Now with the bye, Brown admits it will be good for his players.

“It is good for us to give the guys some time off and recover, we’ll train parts of the week, a weekend to freshen off and then we’ll come into the Canberra (Raiders) game at home on a Sunday afternoon and we’ll look to do things better for longer periods of time,” Brown commented.