nib Newcastle Knights coach Nathan Brown feels that again his team put themselves in a position to win the match against the Cronulla Sharks on Saturday.
Commitment and effort were at 100 per cent, but unfortunately the young Knights weren’t quite good enough to get across the line.
“The amount of possession, the amount of penalties that were against us and the field position Cronulla had and to be able to stay in the contest for that long is a pretty good effort by the guys,” Brown commented.
“If you took the Penrith game out we’ve been in positions to win every game.
“We have won one of them and lost four, and that’s the difference between a side that sits on the top of the ladder and a side that sits where we are now.”
The Knights coach believes one or two players may be touch and go for Friday’s clash against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs but is hopeful they’ll all be available.
“Jack Stockwell had a cut on his chin maybe had about a dozen stitches… but we’re expecting he should be fine,” said Brown.
“(Nathan) Rossy was out with a slight calf injury, we’re hopeful he’ll be ok but we won’t really know until the latter part of the week.
“Sione (Mata’utia) will go through the similar concussion processes, he will see Doctor Levi and those decisions will be made.”
Brown believes Mata’utia has probably had a bit of bad luck with concussion in the game but it shows his commitment to put his body on the line.
“A lot of it is to do with how keen and hungry he is, he’s not frightened to put his body in certain positions but he is hard on his technique and he’s certainly improving,” added Brown.
Reflecting on the Knights Reserve Grade side, who have won back-to-back games, Brown maintains there’s plenty of talent coming through.
“It was a really good quality Reserve Grade, Cronulla had some grand final winners, it was a great contest and we had a number of guys who played well,” he said.
“Pauli Pauli was strong and when he’s ready, I’m not sure, but we’re all confident about what he’s done with his weight and how keen he is and he’ll definitely be ready at some stage.
“(Josh) King is close, he’s put in three really good performances, he was 18th man two weeks ago but he is certainly knocking on the door, he’s just waiting for an opportunity.”
This Friday’s battle against the Bulldogs at home will be another big challenge for the Knights.
“Dave Klemmer and (Sam) Kasiano, they’re big guys and then you’ve got (Aiden) Tolman and (James) Graham, not as big as those guys but quite clever,” he added.
“They have got a really balanced side and Josh Jackson is a really quality player.
“You look at their games, they had two good wins as well as the result against Melbourne was touch and go until the end of the game so I think they’re going far better than what people think.
“We have got to keep turning up and putting ourselves in positions to win games and get over the line.”
Meanwhile, the Knights coach confirmed Cronulla Sharks player Jack Bird did make a recent visit to Newcastle.
“He is a player that we definitely could see our squad moving forward and he’d be a marquee signing,” explained Brown.
“Jack will make his decision over time and we’d love him to come but where he goes and what he does, we’re no further down the track than what we were two or three weeks ago.”