Mine coach's say: Round 22
nib Newcastle Knights coach Nathan Brown said it’s been a great atmosphere back at Knights HQ after the triump over the St George Illawarra Dragons on the weekend.
“It is great to have a win, especially with what everyone has been through,” smiled Brown.
“To have that feeling in the sheds after the game is not only great for the players but obviously, the fans were very happy after the game.
“When you’ve got over 15,000 people, it is a huge testament to the fans.”
The Knights coach admits it might have been a scrappy win, but a win all the same.
“Probably one of the most pleasing parts of the game was our last 10 or 20 minutes," Brown said.
“Closing out the game is something we did a lot better this time and hopefully as the journey goes on, we have the ability to close it out which is what the good sides do.”
Brown maintains during the match the Dragons second phase of play gave them a few headaches and it will be something they’ll need to work on.
“It is probably an area of our game against the Dragons that we didn’t handle very well,” said Brown.
“With the Warriors this week, it is certainly an area that we have done better at during the year and we need to be better at this week.”
The Knights coach acknowledged his younger players stepped up on Saturday including twin forwards, the Saifiti brothers.
“It is probably the best game of the year they’ve played together,” commented Brown.
“Collectively they got to play together a bit which is something they like to do and they certainly had a big impact on the result of the game.
“We would like for them both to be able to do it for hopefully the rest of this year and continue to develop as time goes on.”
Brown also had praise for halfback Trent Hodkinson.
“That last 10 minutes I thought was Trent’s best 10 minutes of the game,” stated Brown.
“It was probably the most important part of the game to have so they’re the types of things you need from your experienced players in those clutch moments of the game.
“Danny Levi also had a very good game and Brock (Lamb) I thought for a majority of the game was very good.
“He had a big impact on the result so to have some of those younger guys in a close game play a bit more of a role than the older guys, gives us good hope they are improving.”
While they should enjoy the win, Brown said focus needs to now go into getting back-to-back wins against the New Zealand Warriors this Saturday.
“Everyone needs to enjoy it but the guys will need to come back to work and re-focus,” he said.
“Back-to-back wins would be huge and it will be a challenge for them playing the Warriors who are probably in a similar boat to us as far as not playing in finals.”
Brown added they could also see the return of winger Chanel Mata’utia after he was ruled out last week due to concussion.
“He is going through everything he is supposed to, he stood down on advice last week but all reports he is ticking all the right boxes,” explained Brown.
“We have got a number of blokes from the weekend that we’re unsure if they will be fit so it could be a timely return.”
Meanwhile Brown admits the win is a good result with the proposed acquisition of the Knights by the Wests Group going to a Member vote this week.
“We need the Wests members to go out there and hopefully support what Wests want to do because as a Club, it gives us our best chance to move forward,” said Brown.
“It offers so much stability and with the good players we’ve got coming, it has the ability to attract players.
“I will definitely be voting and I’ll be voting in the way that I hope many other people do.”