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O'Brien optimistic with back-row boost imminent

It's not all doom and gloom for the nib Newcastle Knights.

Following his first loss as an NRL Coach, Adam O'Brien has remained optimistic about his side ahead of Thursday Night's clash with Brisbane at Central Coast Stadium.

For starters, the Knights remain in the NRL top four, and are set to be boosted with the return of two key players in the coming weeks after Saturday night's 26-12 loss to the Melbourne Storm.

"I think we'll get Fitz (Lachlan Fitzgibbon) back, and we should get Barney (Mitch Barnett) the week after," O'Brien said.

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"Then Connor should be not long after that, so we get three pretty handy blokes to come back."

"It's not all doom and gloom for us, we've been through the worst of that."

The Knights found themselves 18-0 down early in the clash with the Storm, with a Cameron Smith masterclass leaving the Knights with plenty of work to do in the second 40.

Despite a brave fightback, the Knights ultimately fell short.

With plenty to work on, O'Brien did manage to take plenty of positives out of the performance.

"We didn't turn it up, we kept fighting," O'Brien said.

"That's what we want to be about.

"We're not always going to get the result we want, but as long as we keep fighting for each other and picking ourselves up off the deck and having a red hot crack, and I feel like we did that."

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O'Brien was also positive about the condition of Kurt Mann, who has been fighting an ankle injury over the last few weeks.

"It's a sprain, nothing like Connor's (Watson).

"It's not syndesmosis or anything like that."

With the Broncos awaiting, O'Brien is already looking forward to the crucial Thursday night clash.

"It becomes less about the Coaches this week, and more about just getting the body right.

"Having said that, we can't get too fluffy this week, because we started pretty fluffy tonight."