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Knights 2021/22 Off-Season

Woosh

Head Moderator
Messages
922
KNIGHTS coach Adam O'Brien is confident Lachlan Fitzgibbon will be like a new signing this year as the towering back-rower returns from two injury-plagued seasons. Fitzgibbon played only 10 games last year and spent more time in hospitals and physiotherapy rooms than he did on the field. At the end of 2020, he underwent pelvic mesh surgery in the off-season, only to then need a shoulder reconstruction months later that sidelined him until round nine. He subsequently aggravated the latter injury in a 28-20 win against Brisbane in August and required a season-ending operation to repair cartilage damage. More than four months on, the 28-year-old has been training strongly and looks intent on making up for lost time. "Lachy has already been involved in a fair bit of training," O'Brien told the Newcastle Herald. "I think the key has been having an uninterrupted pre-season and getting himself right for the season ahead. "The last couple of years, he's had his setbacks. "So his No.1 priority right now is just getting himself physically right." The Knights have spent the off-season exploring the NRL market-place for a line-breaking back-rower, at one stage being linked to promising North Queensland rookie Heilum Luki. But they are yet to land a notable signing. Fitzgibbon, who has scored 27 tries in his 89-game NRL career, is a proven strike weapon when at his peak. "There's absolutely no reason why Lachy can't fill that void for us there," O'Brien said. "You look at Lachy's best football, it's been of a really high standard and something we need from him. "It's important that we get him physically and mentally up for the challenge of grabbing that spot. "But there's no doubt he's more than capable of that." Fitzgibbon, who re-signed with his home-town team for two seasons in September, faces a battle to dislodge Test forward Tyson Frizell or enforcer Mitch Barnett from Newcastle's starting pack. Cessnock junior Brodie Jones also made great progress last season to appear in 22 top-grade games. But Fitzgibbon's ability to slice through defences could potentially increase the Knights' firepower after a 2021 campaign in which they scored only 428 points, the second-fewest in the competition. Barnett is also equally at home playing lock, which he might be required to do during the early rounds while Sauaso Sue is sidelined. Sue, who played in 23 games last year after joining the Knights from Canterbury, has had two bouts of shoulder surgery over the off-season and will miss the opening rounds of 2022. O'Brien said Sue was "tracking well", as was Jack Johns, who also needed a shoulder operation. "They both had some issues coming out of their surgeries," O'Brien said. "I don't have a definitive timeline on when they will return, but I'd imagine it'll be the early part of the season."

 
Messages
1,266
All this doom and gloom, injuries, lack of signings in key positions, need a half, hooker, 2nd row and depth to cover the injuries we will obviously get.
Come our 2nd win in round 15 we will all be happy that Brailey is back and we have a chance of avoiding the spoon be it ever so slight
Youve just triggered my 2005 PTSD
 

mozza91

First Grade
Messages
9,465
If it was Ponga or Clifford yeah I would understand the doom and gloom.
Ppl over rating Brailey a bit too much.
Brailey’s effort is what will be missed most. Diving on a loose ball or an excellent cover tackle.

His service and defence is great but he isn’t a dominant attacking player by any means. He’s one of those players that you don’t realise you miss until he’s not there.

I have no issue with Randall either he’s never let us down in First Grade but he doesn’t provide what Brailey does.

With Pearce going we couldn’t afford to lose another spine player. Considering how unlucky we are it’s no surprise.
 

Old dog

Juniors
Messages
1,895
We do tend to forget that Pearce missed a lot of games last season and not very good in those he played so I expect that the halves we have and might? get will be as good it’s his drive we will miss but we have plenty of senior players to fill that area
 

Woosh

Head Moderator
Messages
922
Brailey’s effort is what will be missed most. Diving on a loose ball or an excellent cover tackle.

His service and defence is great but he isn’t a dominant attacking player by any means. He’s one of those players that you don’t realise you miss until he’s not there.

I have no issue with Randall either he’s never let us down in First Grade but he doesn’t provide what Brailey does.

With Pearce going we couldn’t afford to lose another spine player. Considering how unlucky we are it’s no surprise.

Even before Brailey’s injury, the season really hinges on who the club signs to partner Clifford in the halves.
Also, if O’Brien decides to pull his finger out this season and actually coach the team to play some footy.
 

Knight Tales

Juniors
Messages
1,226
Seems like the club is ok with the current status of the roster and are happy to just pretend a quality half will fall from the sky. O’Brien is a quality shit talker after those Fitzgibbon references. This guy was offered a basement deal and now is being talked up as a player yet to reach his peak.

We seem to have this belief we either get the player we want or else look within. That is not how it works at all. Gardner’s ‘quality human first’ criteria is delusional crap. Players who are a bit of a challenge off field behaviour wise can still perform on the field and win you games. You sometimes roll the dice on players available who may or may not have been your first choice.
 

Jono078

Coach
Messages
19,005
We seem to have this belief we either get the player we want or else look within. That is not how it works at all. Gardner’s ‘quality human first’ criteria is delusional crap. Players who are a bit of a challenge off field behaviour wise can still perform on the field and win you games. You sometimes roll the dice on players available who may or may not have been your first choice.
To be fair, I MUCH prefer this new approach to recruitment than the one we had in previous administrations..

Oh no we lost Ben Kennedy! Let's sign someone who is not half the player but looks similar and get him to shave his head so fans think he is Ben Kennedy. I do not want a Kirk Reynoldson situation ever again.
 
Messages
1,266
Getting the player we want or else looking within? What other options are there?
lol I was thinking the same thing

And yeah, Id rather the club make smart decisions with recruitment, which sometimes means waiting until later to snag a great player instead of rushing to find just anyone to fill a hole. Pearce left us in a tough spot given how late in the piece he left and there was not much remaining on the market. Theres no doubt we need to replace him with a quality half but I'd rather wait for a Reynolds than rush in and end up with a Townsend
 

Mr_Knightside

Juniors
Messages
1,824
Yeah whilst I’m going to be disappointed if we miss the finals I’d rather we don’t go out and panic buy a half, that’s how we ended up with a one legged Trent Hodgkinson on $600K a year after our wooden spoon year of 2015.

Best to keep the powder dry and try to make the right moves for 2023 even if 2022 ends up being a bit of a write off.
 

Jono078

Coach
Messages
19,005
Who tops the list for shittest recruitment? Based on salary, expectations and performance.

Kirk is at the forefront of my mind. Hodkinson I feel a bit harsh to say due to circumstances but you could add him to the list of contenders.

Conversely, just to add some positive here, my favorite bargain bin buys would have to be Cooper Vuna and Milton Thaiday.
 

Burwood

Bench
Messages
4,399
Who tops the list for shittest recruitment? Based on salary, expectations and performance.

Kirk is at the forefront of my mind. Hodkinson I feel a bit harsh to say due to circumstances but you could add him to the list of contenders.

Conversely, just to add some positive here, my favorite bargain bin buys would have to be Cooper Vuna and Milton Thaiday.

Greg Smith. /thread.

Honestly though, 2012 Kade Snowden. Tariq Sims. Jesse Ramien.

And then there’s the U/20 guys we tried like Beau Henry, Likiliki, Kyle O’Donnell.

Loved Brian Carney and Zeb Taia, along with the two you mentioned.
 

Jono078

Coach
Messages
19,005
I can’t bash the under 20s signings as they were best of the crop and just didn’t work. But I’d never stop taking that chance.

Tariq was a bit of a dud for us. Ramien was unfortunate too. Had high hopes for him.
 

Mr_Knightside

Juniors
Messages
1,824
What about Neville Costigan? We got him at the peak of his career to be a hard nosed enforcer and he spent most of his time here on the sideline or being completely inept.

A sneaky value signing though was Isaac DeGois. We got him at the right time and I remember him being really solid for us. Also Matt Hilder, I loved what he brought to the team.
 
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