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Competition - NRL Premiership Holden Cup .
Date  -   July 24th 2016.
Teams - Cronulla Sharks v Newcastle Knights.
at - Shark Park, Sydney
Pic Grant Trouville @ NRL Photos.

Head coach Nathan Brown and co-captain Jeremy Smith spoke to the media following the Round 20 loss to the Sharks.

Although the Knights were beaten 34-4 by the competition frontrunners, coach Brown believes the side performed admirably after injury pushed a number of players out of position. 

"We lost four blokes last week and then losing Mullo (Jarrod Mullen) at half time," he explained.

"We had Jacob Saifiti have to play centre for a while and he's a front rower. 

"Danny Levi is learning his trade at hooker then he had to play in the halves. 

"It sounds like you're making excuses, but they are young kids who are learning to play their preferred position properly.

"It put us fairly out of sync."

The inability to complete well also compounded the Knights' troubles. 

"The disappointing part of the game was the finish of our sets," Brown added. 

"There were a number of occasion where we would come up with a bad kick and they would run 50 or 60 metres, or we would throw a pass which they would intercept and run 50 or 60 metres. 

"There were some parts of the game we didn't control as well as we have done in the past few weeks, but it's tough for some blokes playing out of position when they are still learning to play their normal position."

Brown said the fact the Knights contained their dominating opponent in the first half is a sign of the squads continual growth. 

"In the last three weeks we have played top four sides on three occasions and I think everyone would agree the Melbourne and Canberra game could have gone either way and the scoreboard suggests that,he said. 

"Today at half time we were at 10 nil against Cronulla who are up in that top four as well. 

"We do that on the back of losing four blokes last week.

"We have a lot of youth in the team and us unfortunate where we are, but it was pleasing at half time we were 10 nil opposed to 36 nil earlier in the year shows we have improved.

"They are a very good team and are seasoned and experienced.

"They have a lot of people who have played the game for a long time."

Brown also acknowledged a number of the side's forwards stood out throughout the game, including new recruit Mitch Barnett. 

"Mitch has been great...and long term he's going to be a good player," he said. 

"He has shown he certainly improves week on week. 

"He takes it to the opposition and isn't bothered by the names or reputation. 

"He gives us a lot of what we need. When Sione (Mata'utia) is playing there, they are back rowers that give us a lot of leg speed.

"Today we thought it was Pauli Pauli's best game for us and that was pleasing part of the game."

The major injury concern from the match was Jarrod Mullen, who was sidelined in the second half due to his hamstring. 

Next week, the Knights take on the Manly Sea Eagles at Brookvale Oval.