NRL: The Sharks’ Origin players have stood behind their captain Paul Gallen after he recieved criticism for his performance in game two
HIS club is in danger of finishing the season as one of the worst-performed teams in the past 50 years.
But Newcastle coach Nathan Brown says bringing players in now as a short-term fix to try and win a few more games this season won’t solve the Knights’ long-term issues.
Not since South Sydney won just one of their opening 19 games of the season a decade ago has a team struggled for success like the Knights have in 2016.
But while Souths picked up two more victories to finish 2006 with three wins, the odds of the Knights winning another game to add to their one win and a draw appear to be lengthening.
About their only saving grace is they won’t rewrite history with the Sydney Roosters holding the dubious record of not winning a single game back in 1966 while the Gold Coast Seagulls managed just one win in 1993.
Brown sympathises with long-suffering fans but says no amount of criticism will see him back away from his long term plan to restore the Knights as an NRL powerhouse after a “pretty average decade”.
And that plan doesn’t include signing any further reinforcements before June 30.
“I know losing is not good and I don’t necessarily go home myself feeling great at times,” he said.
“But winning two or three more games (this year) is not going to change the process we’ve got to go through.
“If it is that we run last or second last, we are a team that is at the bottom of the table that needs to move forward.
“If my win-loss record deteriorates because of it, I’m not really bothered by it. What I’m bothered by is the big picture and the plan we have in place. It’s just going to take time.”
Brown’s blueprint to drag the Knights out of the doldrums centres around blooding as many developing players as he can this season before bringing in the right type of experienced players to put around them over the next few seasons.
Titans and Blues backrower Greg Bird will become one of those targets if he becomes available while Brown is also understood to be keen to sign Cowboys’ utility player Rory Kostjasyn for next season.
With limited room to move under the salary cap, the coach has made tough calls to let the likes of Joseph Tapine and Tariq Sims go to rival clubs early in a bid to free up more cap space for 2017.
There is also the prospect of Kade Snowden being medically retired.
“The money that we have saved, we are saving it for a reason,’ he said. “We are certainly not going to go out there and bring someone in for the rest of this year and waste the money.
“We are pretty clear on what type of personnel we need to bring into the club and now it’s a matter of identifying the right people and seeing if they are available and see if we can afford them.”
Asked did he have a message for struggling fans, Brown pointed to Hawthorn’s AFL experience and how they developed from a club on the brink of bankruptcy when Alastair Clarkson took over as coach in 2005 to a premiership winner three seasons later.
“I can’t promise that things are going to improve in the short term,” Brown said. “All I can tell them is in the long term, they will have a good rugby league team to take them forward for the years to come.
“If we take hits this year, it will only help us for next year and that will help us for the years after.”
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