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Knights struggle against physical Storm

nib Newcastle Knights coach Nathan Brown and captain Sione Mata'utia spoke to the media following Friday night's 40-12 loss in Melbourne.

“Physically they were far too big and powerful for us,” explained Brown.

“The first 20 minutes we struggled to compete, then we brought on a few bench players and physically got ourselves back in the game to score a nice try.

“We got a bit unlucky on another one, then after half time our first 20 minutes we really struggled physically to contain their forwards.”

Despite the Storm being without captain Cameron Smith, Brown admits they executed a trademark performance.

“They are big, strong, mature men,” he said.

“The Storm played against a lot of first and second year forwards, a lot of our forwards are still young and physically we struggled today.

“Cooper (Cronk) and Billy (Slater) have played more games than our whole starting side so it is where we are at, at the moment.

“Most of our forwards aside from Josh Starling... are either first year of first grade or second year of first grade, so it was physically hard for them today.”

The Knights coach maintains it’s a difficult result to see given their improvement this season.

“It might not look like it on the table but a lot of the guys are doing good training which has probably showed in a lot of our performances this year,” Brown commented.

“Today we met a side which is very superior to us in physical development and obviously with Cooper and Billy off the back of that, it was hard for us."

Brown was however pleased with the performance of Dane Gagai off the back of his Origin appearance.

“He is very tired, he competed very well, which Cooper and Billy and all those Origin players they seemed to back up and back up really well so Gags competed hard for us but I’m sure he’ll need a few days off now,” he said.

Next up, the Knights take on the Manly Sea Eagles at Lottoland on Friday night.