Brown calls for improvement
nib Newcastle Knights coach Nathan Brown admits there is great disappointment in not being able to expand on their one win this season but believes most games they have been in that position to win.
Following the loss against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, Brown maintained it was a case of not making the most of opportunities throughout the game.
“I think everyone would agree, I think the Dogs would agree, we should have been leading by 16-0 at halftime,” said Brown.
“We had a number of times this year where we’ve had little periods before and after halftime where we’ve probably let ourselves down a little bit.
“All we can keep doing is working hard, going through the processes and looking to continue to improve.”
As for the tough calls going against the Knights, Brown said it’s just part of the sport.
“It is the reality of being where we are and what we’ve been through as a Club, you generally get more rub of the green when you’re winning more games,” Brown explained.
“What we’re going through is not uncommon to what the Canberra (Raiders) went through two years ago, it’s not uncommon to what other sides, who have started from scratch and built up from the bottom, have gone through.
“We are certainly not the first team to cop some tough calls, we’re certainly not the last but the main thing for us is to focus on those flat periods in the games and when things do go against us we can respond a touch better.”
The Knights coach said while his young players have continued to improve this season he’d like to see a little more from them.
“I think I’ve been protective of all our younger players but on the weekend, most of our 19, 20-year-old players, in real crucial stages, came up with one or two poor decisions,” Brown admitted.
“What was pleasing was a few of our experienced players on the field, I think they came up with some better plays.
“It was definitely (Dane) Gagai’s best game by a long way and it was definitely Hokko’s (Trent Hodkinson) best game this year so to get our experienced players and one or two guys in the leadership group roughly a seven out of ten, that’s where our goal has got to be.
“I’m really proud the younger guys have improved a lot but I suppose we want that little bit extra.”
Brown believes the only way that will happen is increased exposure.
“Continue to play and continue to get in these situations is the only way to get better,” he said.
“Someone like Brock Lamb, he’s having some really good parts of the game for us and he’s having other parts of the game which in time will get better and won’t happen as much.
“Most Brock Lambs do that in Under 20s or reserve grade, they’re sitting behind senior players in those positions.
“Brock is only a short way into his career and the best way to get practice is to keep doing it and keep finding themselves in situations but he’s only one of a number of young guys who we hope will consistently improve.”
Brown believes the greatest quality in a player, young or old, can be that desire to win.
“One of the greatest attractions with (Mitch) Barnett is he is such a good competitor,” added Brown.
“If you bring competitive people to your Club, you’ve got a lot bigger chance of winning than bringing people who are a bit lazy and slack and who don’t really care.
“The score board at the end of the day, even though we got told when we were young the score doesn’t matter it’s how you play the game, that’s not actually the case is it.
“The score board does matter and the more people we sign like Barney that we bring into the Club who hate losing, the more chance you’ve got straight away.”
Against the Sydney Roosters on Good Friday, Brown knows it will again be a tough challenge.
“They are the side who many have been tipped to, if not win the comp, be one of those top few teams,” he explained.
“I’m sure they’ll be coming up here to do a job…. for us we should see it as a challenge as a great opportunity to play a side which has a fair number of internationals and origin players.
“It’ll be a huge challenge but one that we should look forward to.”
Meanwhile the Knights coach is none the wiser on whether Jack Bird will decide to join Newcastle.
“Some clubs like the Brisbane Broncos have the capacity to do a lot more than other clubs,” Brown said.
“It has always been a club that can attract those types of players and afford those types of players, it would be great for Brisbane if it happened but we’d like him to come here.
“We have obviously put a lot of time into it but his decision will come sooner or later.”
Footy action is back at McDonald Jones Stadium on Good Friday; NYC kick off at 3.45pm before NRL at 6pm.