2017 Season Reviews

Discussion in 'Newcastle Knights Discussion' started by rhugh89, Sep 4, 2017.

  1. rhugh89

    rhugh89 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2012
    Posts:
    22,000
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Brisbane
    Knights 2017 season review


    Mon 04 Sep, 2017, 9:00am
    By Dominic Brock, Production Editor‌‌, ‌‌‌NRL.com



    Another year, another wooden spoon, but things are finally starting to look up again for Newcastle.

    After just a single win in 2016 they claimed five victories this season, and led on several more occassions, but more importantly their long-term plan of blooding youngsters and improving the state of their salary cap is starting to come to fruition.

    Between their current line-up and the incoming signings for next year the Knights have some quality young talent in key positions, bolstered by a handful of veterans with experience at winning clubs, and the most faithful fan base in the league is set to finally see some reward for their patience in the coming seasons.

    Of course in terms of results the 2017 campaign was another one to forget, with a seven-game losing streak from Round 3 to Round 9 followed by eight straight losses starting in Round 11. A 40-0 thrashing at the hands of the Panthers was the worst of the lot, although an embarrassing 33-12 defeat to fellow strugglers the Wests Tigers in Newcastle was arguably the low point of the year.

    But the team notched three confidence-boosting wins late in the campaign and have recruited well for 2018, with Knights supporters given some long-awaited hope for the future.

    Where they excelled:

    "Excelled" is a stretch but there are some areas in which the Knights surpassed expectations. A focus on simple, safety-first footy for Nathan Brown's young side resulted in Newcastle making the fourth-fewest errors in the league, and their improved execution paid off with a three-game winning run against the Dragons, Warriors and Eels late in the season. They claimed earlier wins at home against the Titans and Raiders, and were surprisingly good in the first half of games – leading at half-time on a dozen occasions.

    Where they struggled:

    The raw stats don't paint a pretty picture. The Knights finished with the worst defence and third-worst attack in the league, and their forward pack was often outmatched by their opponents with Newcastle finishing with the fewest run metres of any team in the NRL. Their biggest weakness for much of the season though was an inability to play for the full 80 minutes, frequently giving up a half-time advantage and letting potential wins slip through their fingers.

    Missing in action:

    Only three players have played all available matches for the Knights this season, with a combination of injuries and Nathan Brown's rotation of the line-up meaning Newcastle rarely had a settled 17. Former NSW halfback Trent Hodkinson struggled with knee issues all year, spending the middle portion of the season in the lower grades and being unable to kick goals from long-range. Winger-turned-fullback Nathan Ross was sidelined with calf and back injuries, veteran signing Jamie Buhrer was restricted to just 16 matches after suffering a broken foot in April while fellow experienced campaigner Rory Kostjasyn didn't make a single appearance for his new club due to a throat issue. Jarrod Mullen is another player to have missed the entire season after testing positive to a banned substance at the start of the year.

    Turning point:

    Newcastle's shock Round 23 win over Parramatta wasn't a turning point for their season but it could be one for the club's future. The victory – their first away from McDonald Jones Stadium in 2017 and their third win on the trot – came against a genuine top-eight side that had won their last six matches, with young playmaker Brock Lamb scoring one try and setting up two others. The victory brought some genuine optimism to Newcastle for the first time in a long time, and it didn't hurt that future Knights recruits Tautau Moga and Connor Watson produced strong performances on the same weekend either.

    Hold your head high:

    Dane Gagai excelled both in the centres and at fullback in his final season at the club before departing for South Sydney, notching more than twice as many tackle breaks as any other Knight in 2017. Fellow speedster Nathan Ross cemented his place as one of the game's cult favourites and was the team's top try-scorer, lock Mitch Barnett led the club in tackles and offloads and looks a star of the future while 21-year-old prop Daniel Saifiti embraced his role as the leader of the pack. Five-eighth Lamb also thrived in the latter part of the season, showing maturity beyond his years to put a disastrous final few minutes against the Bulldogs in Round 18 behind him to star in each of their three wins from Round 21-23.

    2018 crystal ball:

    The arrival of players like Moga, Watson, fullback Kalyn Ponga and experienced back-rower Aidan Guerra boosts Newcastle's available talent considerably, and the Knights still have salary cap room to spend. They won't be contenders instantly – even a run to the finals seems too high an expectation for next season – but they should certainly improve, and with a very young team that improvement should continue in the coming years. If Watson and Ponga in particular can live up to their potential – along with the Saifiti twins and 21-year-old skipper and one-time Kangaroo Sione Mata'utia – there are very good things in the future for Newcastle.

    Conclusion:

    Compared to the horrors of the 2016 season Newcastle fans will look back at 2017 relatively fondly, thanks in large part to the team's three-game winning streak in the latter part of the campaign. Doubts about the quality of coach Nathan Brown and playmaker Brock Lamb have largely subsided and there is genuine excitement about the prospects of Daniel and Jacob Saifiti, Mitch Barnett and potential star signing Ponga. Gagai's exit to the Rabbitohs is a disappointment but the club has cleared a lot of salary cap space behind the scenes so should remain in a powerful recruiting position for the foreseeable future.

    Season stats

    Wins: 5
    Losses: 19
    Position: 16
    Home Record: 4-8
    Away Record: 1-11
    Longest Winning Streak: 3 games (Round 21-23)
    Longest Losing Streak: 8 games (Round 11-Round 20)
    Players Used: 35
    Tries Scored: 72
    Tries Conceded: 113


    http://www.nrl.com/knights-2017-season-review/tabid/10874/newsid/111643/default.aspx
     
    Tasgirl likes this.
  2. Kurriboy

    Kurriboy Leo Dynevor

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2016
    Posts:
    1,174
    I read this earlier today.

    Happy the season is over, going to miss heading to Knights games, can't wait for next year.

    I don't agree with the Gagai stuff, but most media commentators see Gagai as the SOO star, and not how he goes for us weekly. I wish Gags the best and hope he kicks on at Souths, but for us he rarely lived up to his hype (at least from my perspective). Moga will be a more consistent performer for us I think.
     
    Tasgirl likes this.
  3. Joshhh

    Joshhh OnARampageFuelledByGod

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2010
    Posts:
    10,643
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    New Lambton, Newcastle
    I wish him the best too, he stuck around a lot longer than the rest of the Bennett's boys. For a lot of players, their careers can come down to being in the right place at the right time, or vice versa. I think he'd be a superstar if he was playing wing for Melbourne for example.
     
    Kurriboy likes this.
  4. Kurriboy

    Kurriboy Leo Dynevor

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2016
    Posts:
    1,174
    I think he would have been a lot better for us if we played him on the wing instead fullback/centre.

    Anyway, all the best to him.
     
  5. member 2299

    member 2299 Danny 'Bedsy' Buderus

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2009
    Posts:
    5,248
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Nambucca Heads
    Report Card for mine would read 'Tried hard will do better next year!'.

    Good luck Gags. Whilst he was my favourite player for a while, never rose to the heights he achieved in Origin.
     
  6. mozza

    mozza Game on broheim

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2007
    Posts:
    6,430
    Location:
    N/A
    The Gagai myth continues. Levi, Buhrer, Barnett, Saifiti x 2, Lamb, Ross and Sione all had better seasons.

    Whilst Gagai had some good games and was rarely terrible he was far from a shining light. He had maybe 5 good games in the centres and 1 at fullback. He gets a pass mark and that's about it.

    Overall it was much better than the previous 2 seasons and things are finally looking up. The guys mentioned above teamed with some top signings (with several more to come) plus guys like King and Fitzgibbon emerging as genuine quality First Graders means wooden spoons will be a thing of the past come 2018.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2017
  7. Billy

    Billy Danny 'Bedsy' Buderus

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2008
    Posts:
    10,641
    Even though we spent at least 1.5 million under the salary cap this year, for various reasons, we were unlucky to not get several more wins. The frustrating thing is that the boys choked several times when they should have won, simply because they had forgotten how to win. Once they got one win, they put a few together, which was a relief.

    Next year we spend the whole salary cap, and our youth policy means all our young locals should improve to be worth more than we are paying them over the next 2 or 3 years.
    We go into next year knowing we can win games with the squad we have now, but also knowing we have between 6 and 8 quality imports joining the squad, and 3 or 4 young guys ready to step up and challenge for spots.

    The biggest challenge is for the coaching staff to put together a team that works well together with all the different individual talents they have to work with - a spine that includes Ponga, Watson, Lamb and Levi sounds like it will have individual brilliance in every position - but can they all work for each other? is the question Brown has to answer in the off season, and he also has to work Cogger, Meaney, a new hooker, Tom Starling and other spine players into their roles as shadow players for the first selections, and get the rest of the squad working with the spine. In effect, Brown is putting a whole new team together this off season, because all the gains of this year were with a very different looking spine and players.
     
    Tasgirl and Lefty like this.
  8. Kurriboy

    Kurriboy Leo Dynevor

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2016
    Posts:
    1,174
    Lefty and Tasgirl like this.
  9. Lord of the Skraelings

    Lord of the Skraelings Danny 'Bedsy' Buderus

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2010
    Posts:
    5,086
    Occupation:
    modern burlesque dancer
    Location:
    Sydney
    Don't let 88 see that ffs!
     
  10. 88Knight4life

    88Knight4life Matthew Johns

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2016
    Posts:
    4,024
    ??
     
  11. Lord of the Skraelings

    Lord of the Skraelings Danny 'Bedsy' Buderus

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2010
    Posts:
    5,086
    Occupation:
    modern burlesque dancer
    Location:
    Sydney
  12. Simon Templar

    Simon Templar George Mann

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2017
    Posts:
    220
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Project Manager
    Location:
    Northern Suburbs
    His assessment seems plausible, new regime should be between 9th and 15th .

    Definitely not 16th with the squad named , but there is a lot that can happen in the off season.
     
  13. rhugh89

    rhugh89 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2012
    Posts:
    22,000
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Brisbane
    SIGNS OF LIFE AMID ANOTHER WOODEN SPOON SEASON FOR THE NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS


    Nick Walshaw, The Daily Telegraph
    September 6, 2017 5:54pm



    A THIRD wooden spoon is heading to the Hunter — but there were signs of life in another tough season for the Knights.

    With the regular season wrapped up for 2017, we take a look back at what went wrong for the eight teams that missed the finals. Read on for the Newcastle Knights’ end-of-season review.

    WHERE THEY FINISHED?

    16th (last)

    WHAT WENT WRONG?

    When you finish last, plenty. But certainly one of Newcastle’s major failings was in recruitment. Put simply, the Knights were the worst team on paper in 2017 and so it proved on the field. Certainly club hierarchy couldn’t have foreseen the dramas that outed senior players Jarrod Mullen and Rory Kostjasyn.

    Nor Trent Hodkinson’s worrying form slump.

    But you also can’t send kids out to play week in, week out in the NRL and expect success. As a result the Knights struggled for consistency — and wins.

    WHAT WENT RIGHT?

    Certainly no doubting the grit of this mob who went a long way to resembling that Black Knight of Monty Python fame. Yes, arms were severed. Then legs. But still they bravely goaded on rivals -- ‘tis nothing but a scratch’ — to come at them again.

    They pnly won five games but three of them came after Round 20. Also, plenty of young players showed promise, among them playmaker Brock Lamb, lock Mitch Barnett and the Saifiti twins.

    STAT THAT SUMS UP THE SEASON

    Points against: 648. You can’t concede almost 30 points a game and expect to win anything but wooden spoons.

    IT’S A SHAMBLES!

    Attack, defence, recruitment, all of it. Apart from conceding more points than any other side, Newcastle also earned the least amount of run metres as their relatively young forward pack struggled against bigger, more experienced rivals.

    The side’s attack also battled given, despite playing largely mistake-free footy, they lacked the genuine class of rival NRL rosters.

    HIGHLIGHT OF THE SEASON

    Anything the Ross Dog did out on his flank.

    Apart from becoming a genuine NRL cult figure, Knights winger Nathan Ross also defined the grit and never-say-die attitude of this team.

    Elsewhere, Dane Gagai also did enough to be in contention for the Dally M centre gong while beating Parramatta as part of a three-game winning run was also a massive effort.

    LOWLIGHT OF THE SEASON

    Again, plenty. But certainly what really hurt the Knights was their inability to play for 80 minutes.

    Despite leading a dozen games at half time, a lack of experience and big game talent saw them win less than half of them.

    BIG NAME RECRUITS

    Kalyn Ponga, Aidan Guerra, Tautau Moga, Connor Watson, Herman Ese’ese

    BIG NAME LOSSES

    Dane Gagai

    WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT YEAR?

    BEST CASE SCENARIO

    The Knights large batch of young guns finally find that consistency, and skill level, required of NRL first graders. Undoubtedly, North Queensland recruit Kalyn Ponga will be a huge asset and has all the attributes of a genuine superstar. But will it be enough? Who knows.

    WORST CASE SCENARIO

    Given the Knights tried, and failed, to land a host of other big name, it seems their roster will be improved, but still well short of the premiership powerhouses. And worst case scenario? Little changes and they win another wooden spoon.

    COACH SAFETY RATING

    5/10. While Nathan Brown has being given far more leeway than previous Knights coaches, it’s hard to believe the pressure won’t mount significantly should results fail to change in 2018.


    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/sp...s/news-story/56c74a5229632ac11e1726e0f71aa2d4
     
    Tasgirl likes this.
  14. slotmachine

    slotmachine Danny 'Bedsy' Buderus

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2011
    Posts:
    5,417
    Lowlight was getting blown off the park in the spoonbowl.
     
    Battler likes this.
  15. member 2299

    member 2299 Danny 'Bedsy' Buderus

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2009
    Posts:
    5,248
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Nambucca Heads
    There was a reason for that slots involving Sam Mataroa.
     
  16. Battler

    Battler Kade Snowden

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2017
    Posts:
    218
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Manning Valley
    I take very little notice of plodder articles written by plodder journalists.

    Recruitment is where we (and continue to go) wrong? F*ck off idiot. Probably been the best we have seen in decades.

    Highlights: Ross Dog and Dane - Wrong again. Love Rossy, but everyone knows Dan was our highlight. Barnett was also very good.

    I've had a big couple of months at work and maybe I'm just being cranky. But seeing this rubbish published by people who have no idea just irks me.

    Sorry fellas.
     
    Lefty and MisterLevy like this.
  17. Billy

    Billy Danny 'Bedsy' Buderus

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2008
    Posts:
    10,641
    Our recruitment for the 2017 season was rubbish - Starling, Sio, Wardle, Tupou, Kostjaysyn, Gagan - all rubbish buys for different reasons. Buhrer was the only decent buy. 2018 looks a lot better, but we won't know for sure till next year.
     
  18. Battler

    Battler Kade Snowden

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2017
    Posts:
    218
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Manning Valley
    Yeah Billy, don't disagree. I was more talking about the current recruitment, although I probably got the context of the article wrong. I can't hang Brown on 2017 recruitment either though, cap was a mess. Starling had some value, Kosty never had a chance, Buhrer I thought was solid, Sio (I didin't rate that much) was solid, the other guys hopefully came cheap..
     
  19. EASBay17

    EASBay17 Tim Maddison

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2011
    Posts:
    963
    Location:
    Belmont
    stopped reading at gagai being in contention for dally m centre of the year.
     
  20. rhugh89

    rhugh89 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2012
    Posts:
    22,000
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Brisbane
    Brown's season review


    Wed 4th October, 12:49PM


    Knights TV sat down with head coach Nathan Brown to talk through what went well in 2017 and where improvements need to be made.

    Brown admits the playing group faced a lot of challenges from the beginning.

    “Probably our biggest challenge was losing Jarrod (Mullen) and Rory (Kostjasyn) without playing a game,” said Brown.

    “Both play in important positions and were two of our most experienced players.

    “Also, losing Dylan Phythian 40 minutes into Round 1 was hard because we trained him to play fullback and we believed he was going to have a very good year.”

    While the wins for the season were sporadic, the Knights coach says there was plenty of improvement.

    “In a lot of the games we played last year, they were over at half time and we got beat up pretty bad,” Brown commented.

    “Other sides were far more physical and mature and ready for first grade than us.

    “We had a lot of kids out there that probably weren’t ready to play first grade football; a lot played before their time and a lot more games than they should have.

    “This year was a lot better and I think we led 12 or 13 times at half time.

    ‘We may have only won a couple of those games but to be in those games has probably shown how far the younger kids have come and the huge strides they have made.”

    A number of the younger players, including Lachlan Fitzgibbon, Danny Levi, Mitch Barnett and Luke Yates were the highlight to come out of 2017 and were swiftly locked down by the Knights, signed on for future years.

    Brown said being at the bottom of the table can hinder a club’s ability to keep young talent.

    “It presents challenges because you are at the bottom of the table and other clubs have far more attractive offers or they have access to more third-party money or sponsorship,” Brown explained.

    “Fortunately, out of all our younger players, we haven’t lost any... although we did lose Dane Gagai who was a player that we didn’t want to lose.

    “He is our only current Origin representative and we were very disappointed to lose Dane.

    “You certainly do hit a few bumps on the road.”

    The announcement Wests would be taking over ownership came in July and provided a massive coup for the Club.

    “It is huge for the Club and it is massive for the town as well,” Brown said.

    “As everyone in Newcastle knows, Wests are a huge organisation and they have the ability to give a lot of confidence and belief to us as a football club but also to the rest of the football world.

    “In Newcastle’s 30-year tenure, there’s been a number of times where things haven’t looked so good on the financial front but Wests certainly have a huge amount of credibility as well as the resources.

    “It also makes retaining your own players a little easier and the ability to attract some big players as well.

    “Off the back of Wests coming on, they’re looking to build a Centre of Excellence which will gives us a facility that is one of the best in the league.

    “It is a great attraction for all our younger local kids when it becomes time to talk about contracts and possibly leaving Newcastle, to see what they’ve got in their own backyard.”

    Stay tuned for the second instalment of this interview, where Brown looks forward to the 2018 season.


    http://www.newcastleknights.com.au/news/2017/10/04/brown_s_season_revie.html
     

Share This Page