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2022 Team

Woosh

Juniors
Messages
728
Kalyn Ponga says his sole focus is on winning a premiership with the Knights and is totally committed to the club. Right now though, we can only take him at his word on that. Fans are entitled to be at least a little sceptical about just how committed the brilliant young fullback is to Newcastle and the Knights going forward given his refusal to hose down speculation about his playing future beyond next year. His contract with the Knights, worth in excess of $1 million a season, has options in his favour for 2023 and 2024, meaning he can leave if an opportunity he fancies more comes along. What's more, he can talk to rival clubs now about the 2023 season. He denies he has spoken to Wayne Bennett and the Dolphins but says he doesn't know if his father Andre, who is also managing him, has held talks with the NRL's newest club. During his first day back at pre-season training on Wednesday when quizzed about his future, Ponga told the media: "I want to be here". He even appeared bemused by the constant speculation surrounding him. "I need to write something on my forehead that I'm here [at the Knights] and committed," he quipped. Or he could simply walk into coach Adam O'Brien's office and tell him he is not going anywhere for the next few years. Game over. Kurt Mann appears set to be handed first crack at nailing down a permanent spot in the Knights' pack next season as a ball-playing lock. The plan is to make him an integral part of a revamped Knights' attack that will presumably off-load a lot of the boring structure that made the side so predictable last season. Coach Adam O'Brien is keen to use Mann in a first receiver role in a similar fashion to how clubs like the Panthers, Roosters, Souths and Manly use Isaah Yeo, Victor Radley, Cam Murray and Jake Trbojevic. Boom youngster Simi Sasagi and Phoenix Crossland are also seen as players who could be developed in that role while Mitch Barnett is another strong option there. At this point in time, the Knights will start next season without a dominant halfback with Mitchell Pearce gone so the versatility of having a ball-playing lock at your disposal becomes more important. The dogs that were barking so loudly a few weeks back about Luke Brooks wanting out of the Wests Tigers because of his relationship with coach Michael Maguire have died down since the arrival of Tim Sheens at the club. Sheens insists Brooks is going nowhere but if the mail about him being off the coach and wanting out is true and Sheens can't fix it, how long before it becomes an issue again? The Knights are saying nothing about Brooks. But given the fluidity of the market and how quickly things can change with players and clubs, you can bet your life they are keeping a close eye on potential developments. It's not all bad news for coach Brad Tighe and his Northern Hawks team despite the club being denied promotion into the Newcastle RL top grade next season by the NSWRL. We're told former Knight Tyler Randall, among a handful of profile recruits who were ready to link with the Hawks if they were promoted, won't be returning to the Kurri Bulldogs now as expected. Instead, he's agreed to play reserve grade with the Hawks in 2022 and help Tighe push the promotional barrow over the next 12 months. Still on the local league, Maitland coach Matt Lantry has poured cold water on whispers the club has been talking to 37-year-old veteran Greg Bird about a swansong season with his junior club. The controversial former Test and Origin star is back in Australia on the Gold Coast after several years in France. "Yeah, I've heard the rumours and we'd love to have Birdy back at the club in some capacity but hand on heart, I haven't spoken to him," Lantry told us.
 

Jono078

Coach
Messages
17,621
Kurt Mann appears set to be handed first crack at nailing down a permanent spot in the Knights' pack next season as a ball-playing lock. The plan is to make him an integral part of a revamped Knights' attack

Was anyone able to read this with a straight face? Like imagine the coaches passing this message onto the journalist knowing full well what Mann dished up as a "playmaker" in his time here..

I want to be optimistic about him grabbing his opportunity but "Kurt Mann" and "Integral" should not be in the same sentence.
 

Burwood

Bench
Messages
4,238
This probably belongs in the unpopular opinions thread, but I think he’ll do well there. Give him a very specific role and stop shifting him all the time and I think he can get back to some of the form he showed in his first year here.

All he needs to do is get the ball from Brailey and then look to run or shift the ball out to one of our three playmakers. Best and Gagai will be lethal if we actually bother to get quality early ball out to them.
 

Yosh

First Grade
Messages
9,138
Toohey says the coach wants Kurt Mann to play lots of first receiver like radley and murray.

This is fine.
New position. Kurt Mann = First and Last receiver.

But in all seriousness, I think his passing techincially is okay. He has an issue with making quick decisions out on the edge. If all he has to do is shovel the ball on quickly to the half outside, it might be okay. I say 'okay' because it'll be serviceable at best.
 

Knight Tales

Juniors
Messages
723
I don’t believe for a second Mann will be playing first receiver. O’Brien is giving nothing away. Johns is here to overhaul and blow up the attack. If it is the case Mann is a first receiver then it
Won’t be for the reasons we think.
 

Jono078

Coach
Messages
17,621
Yep pretty much this.
Joey and O’Brien both know what they are doing.
It’s a smokescreen to keep Tex Hoy under the radar until round 1 😁
"The Knights have the Roosters on the back-foot here and might just steal this game! Saifiti plays the ball 10 out from the Roosters line.. Brailey to Mann, who runs sideways! He passes to Hoy!!! IT'S ON HERE!!! ... Hoy passes it to the Roosters ball boy. Game over."

Why do I suffer from these visions :(
 

Silent Knight

First Grade
Messages
8,047
Was anyone able to read this with a straight face? Like imagine the coaches passing this message onto the journalist knowing full well what Mann dished up as a "playmaker" in his time here..

I want to be optimistic about him grabbing his opportunity but "Kurt Mann" and "Integral" should not be in the same sentence.

But but…he’s a good trainer.

This “proposed strategy” would be so easy to coach against. All the opposition would need to do is rush up on Spazwing at first receiver and I guarantee he will just take the tackle. Our attack will become even more of a joke because before it was our outside backs who weren’t seeing any of the ball, Pearce would just shuffle it on to Barney and FitzNIBbon. You put Spazwing at first receiver and it will be our halves and fullback who will be left scratching their heads.

Seriously does AOB want to lose his job?
 

Knight76

Juniors
Messages
1,895
I often wonder what our coaching staff see in attacking patterns of our opposition.

I mean they must study countless hours of video, both of our games and training, and the opposition games. Breaking down the opposition attack, their key men, understanding how they move the ball and where they are a threat.

Then, with this knowledge, they devise a cunning attack for the Knights that focuses on one out forward hitups and little to no passing. Get in to a good attacking position and have zero set plays other than pass the ball one way, then return the ball to the middle for a forward barge over, only to pick a sideline and pass the ball that way again.

They must be thinking, if we pass the ball back and forward, one of them is going to bolt out of the line or somehow stuff up the defensive read and we can score. You know, like our guys do!
 

Yosh

First Grade
Messages
9,138
I'll probably spaz this up and not explain it well but I follow a couple of other sports and recently I saw an analysis of the great coaches vs. the good coaches.

The great coaches are confident enough to try something totally different or create a new route and successfully set up winning systems. They are quick to adapt and will drop something immediately if it doesn't work. I would say we have a couple in the NRL; Bennett, Bellamy, Robinson & Cleary come to mind. New rule changes or world events or severe injury problems don't derail their season. They adapt and come up with genius/new solutions to overcome whatever challenges they are facing. E.g. Bellamy loses the best player since Joey, but adapts just fine by distributing Cameron Smith's strengths among the entirety of the new spine. Robinson has a massive injury toll and loses his two best leaders and decides to blood a rookie who almost perfectly personifies the new NRL rule changes.

However, good coaches (whoever is an NRL coach is a very good coach already) aren't as keen to try something new or maverick because:

1. They aren't as smart as the great coaches so can't come up with solutions as quickly.
2. It's better to fail following the crowd than to fail trying something new or inventive and taking all the responsibility and blame (apparently really common across all sports).

I would put AOB in the good coaches category. The Knights are in the best shape it has been in since 2005 (both physically and mentally) and we're technically a winning team. However, AOB isn't comfortable moving away from what he knows well. What worked for him the past has basically abandoned him but he wasn't confident enough to move away from it immediately.

To his credit, he has started to make some big changes with the likes of Joey coming in. I'm secretly very confident that our attack is going to be fixed this year in a big big way. However, I feel like this every preseason and have been let down for the past 16 years so....
 

Jono078

Coach
Messages
17,621
I don't know if it was AOB's decision to bring in these other coaches but I see it all as positive.

Johns is potentially great because he just knows the game back to front, even the modern game he can see what does and doesn't work.

Really excited to see what we become..
 

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