Post match press conference: Round 14
Coach Nathan Brown and captain Sione Mata'utia spoke to the media following the Round 14 loss to Manly.
“We have had a few tough calls but that’s where we are and that’s why we sit where we are on the table,” explained Brown.
“Whether it is our fault sometimes or some tough calls we don’t respond well to, we don’t quite get there.
“I am worrying more about how we can get over the line than just fall short with our younger players.”
The Knights coach feels everyone agrees his young players are hanging in there.
“They are competing really hard,” said Brown.
“I am proud of them in a lot of ways but there were some areas where certain individuals put us under too much pressure.
“Refereeing is a hard job, we’re all doing our bit to get it right.
“When you talk to any bottom team, what we’re going through the 50-50s just don’t seem to fall your way.
“It is not until you start to win more games and players learn how to win a little bit more, the rub of the green tends to go your way.”
Captain Sione Mata’utia said once a decision has been made by the referees, the players can't do anything about it.
“As much as you bark about the decision, it has been made and you can’t overturn it,” he said.
“It would have been nice to get up to the video ref but it didn’t and we just had to focus on our next job.”
Brown believes the key is to focus on their own game.
“Work out what we can do better and not focus on what the referees are doing,” Brown commented.
“There were reasons why we were down on our line too much today which we have to get better at.
“We got up the second half and got back in the game, we need to focus hard in that area.”
The coach admits the Knights are different to a lot of clubs in the NRL.
“In Newcastle, all these kids and Sione have come through the 20s a number of years ago basically like our draft pics so we’ve gone back to scratch,” stated Brown.
“I think we had all our forward pack, mostly except for Josh Starling come to Newcastle as a second and first year player.
“The physicality of the game and learning how to win, it’s tough but they have all improved.
“The one thing that we could promise at the Knights, that we would clear the roster and start again and that’s what we had to do.
“We had a big cap issue, had a lot of older players and one or two players like Akuila Uate who’d leave and it was going to be a good thing for him because he’s been playing great for Manly.
“That’s common in the AFL but it’s not common in the NRL.
“That was the pathway that we decided to take as a whole club two years ago and that’s the path we’re going to continue to take until we find the right senior players to sign.
“We have to get it right because if we get it wrong, the Knights will have another five or six bad years like the last eleven years have been.”
Brown maintains despite the losses, there are positive signs.
“We have led at half time seven times this year now so that shows the growth of all these young blokes but we want to win some more games for the fans and for the young guys’ confidence,” the coach explained.
“To see a reward for their effort would be good.
“The NRL is a tough business and the boys are getting better and that is what gives us hope."