What's new
The Front Row Forums

Register a free account today to become a member of the world's largest Rugby League discussion forum! Once signed in, you'll be able to participate on this site by adding your own topics and posts, as well as connect with other members through your own private inbox!

Rumoured Targets 3

Choppy91

Juniors
Messages
32
Really? Why? Pearce has led us to the 8 2 years in a row. The other fella, with an arguably better squad, has not done enough to justify his hype.
He has also never one a finals game with Newcastle. So that to me say he's not up to it. I'll also stake the claim that the whole reason we made the Semis was because of Clifford. He had a stella back end of the year. The inclusion of a good defensive half with solid Goal kicking and the ability to play a bit off the cuff is so needed to help players like Ponga break away from these defensive structures that other teams use, because now they have caught on to our terrible predictable attack. E.g Ponga sweep around the back and link with Best.

3rd Last in tries and points
4th last in Try Assists
3rd Last in decoy runs
 

Woosh

Juniors
Messages
706
Knights forward Mitch Barnett is among a number of Newcastle players who could miss the start of pre-season training next month after undergoing surgery. Barnett is recovering at home in Newcastle and about to begin rehabilitation in the next couple of weeks after undergoing a groin operation in Brisbane following the end of the club's premiership campaign. On the same day as his surgery, teammate Jesse Sue also went under the knife to repair shoulder and knee damage. Backrower Jack Johns, who is yet to be re-signed by the club, faces a five or six month stint on the sideline after undergoing a shoulder reconstruction. Lachlan Fitzgibbon also had shoulder and knee operations while in Brisbane which sidelined him for the back-end of the season while interchange hooker Chris Randall missed the semifinal loss to Parramatta with a broken thumb that also required surgery. "There's been a few of us having to go in to get stuff fixed up but that's not uncommon at this time of the year," Barnett said. "I went into a private hospital in Brisbane to get both my groins done the same day as Jesse. We both had the same surgeon. "I had my adductors released - they cut them off the bone to let them bleed out and reattached themselves." READ MORE: Barnett revealed he played with his groin problem for the bulk of the season, claiming the further it went, the worse the injury became. "I was getting a lot of pain in the front of my pelvis region and public bone region," he said. "The surgery is supposed to have fixed it so I'll find out in a few weeks when I start rehab. I carried it all year but the longer it went on, the worse it became. "You could feel it during games but it was afterwards when the pain was the most severe. I didn't sleep the night we played and I'd struggle to get around at all the next day. I was walking around like an old man. "It would gradually improve as the week went on and I'd be good enough to play but then I'd be back to square one again. It was sort of a vicious cycle. "I had scans done and it was decided that surgery was going to be the way to go but it was just a matter of getting through until the end of the season. "The fact we were in camp up there on the Sunshine Coast helped a lot because we had physios there who were working around the clock, not just on me but on the other boys as well."
 

Woosh

Juniors
Messages
706
Cold, hard statistics may not indicate as much but the Knights are a far more advanced team now than they were 12 months ago after a 2021 season where they managed to bridge the gap between themselves and the premiership heavyweights. Their seventh-placed finish and first weekend exit in the play-offs mirrored that of their previous season's effort in Adam O'Brien's first year as an NRL coach. But if you're a Knights fan, it was a far more encouraging seventh this year. To make the finals despite having the second worst attack in the NRL suggests the squad made some big improvements on the other side of the footy in defence. But perhaps the most significant gains came between the ears of the players. The soft mentality and serious lack of resolve under pressure that has plagued previous campaigns was replaced, for the most part, by a far more steely edge. Individually, the likes of Daniel and Jacob Saifiti had great seasons, as did Mitch Barnett, Jayden Brailey and Connor Watson while Kalyn Ponga's freakish skill always threatened. In the first of a three-part series over the next few days on the Knights, here is our Top 8 Positives for 2021. If you thought breaking a seven-year finals drought in 2020 was an achievement, what about making back-to-back finals appearances for the first time in 18 years. The Knights achieved it for the first time since 2003 despite lengthy injuries to key players such as Mitchell Pearce and Ponga and a stack of so-called media experts and former players who predicted before a ball was kicked they wouldn't make the eight. All up, coach O'Brien was forced to use 31 players with his first choice spine of Ponga, Jake Clifford, Pearce and Jayden Brailey only playing a handful of games together. Remarkably, the Knights were sitting 14th at the end of round 14 but won seven of their final 10 competition games to wrap up a finals berth heading into the final round. They fell to Parramatta in week one of the play-offs but not before taking the Eels right to the wire. If there was a game during the season that gave the Knights self-belief and proved they weren't just a punching bag for the heavyweights, it was their 18-10 round 12 win over Manly at McDonald Jones Stadium. There was no Ponga, Pearce, Clifford or Kurt Mann for the Knights against a Manly side that was running hot having won five of their past six games leading in. And they had a red-hot Tom Trbojevic salivating at the thought of how much carnage he would create in Newcastle. But with a halves pairing of Phoenix Crossland and Connor Watson and Tex Hoy at fullback, the home side found a way to win, becoming one of the few teams in the competition to completely shut down the Manly fullback. Daniel Saifiti's match-sealing try in the final minutes was one of the great moments of the season, almost rivaling Pearce's match-winning field-goal against the Titans in round 24 that wrapped up a finals berth. Sounds like a great title for a movie. For Knights fans though, there is nothing fictional about the Saifiti twins Daniel and Jacob and their elevation to elite status among the game's premier frontrowers. Daniel was again the cornerstone of the forward pack, building on his tremendous 2020 season with another dominant performance at both club and representative level. But so massive was Jacob's contribution to the side's success, he is now nipping at the heels of his brother after unseating David Klemmer from the starting side mid-season. So highly valued was Jacob by the coaching staff, he walked away with the Danny Buderus Medal as their player of the year. In 2020, he was 'Frail Brails' after playing just two games all season but he morphed into 'Tough-as-nails Brails' this year to become one of the Knights' key players. It's little wonder the club was quick to tie hooker Jayden Brailey down on an extended contract. Handed a co-captaincy role by O'Brien, Brailey was the epitome of what you want in your leader - hard-working, whole-hearted, inspirational. His work ethic was second to none, finishing the season as the top-tackling player in the premiership. And if you are talking inspiration, think his unbelievable 70 metre covering tackle on a runaway Reece Walsh against the Warriors that saved a try and the match. How crucial was that effort play given how the season panned out? It's amazing to think back now at the barbs thrown by plenty of Knights fans at the club when it was first revealed they had signed this bloke from the Cowboys. Many of those who were highly critical of his recruitment were the same fans singing Jake Clifford's praises by the end of the season. There is no question prising Clifford out of the Cowboys mid-season turned out to be a masterstroke by O'Brien and the club's head of recruitment Clint Zammit. Aside from anything else, his kicking game alone was a game-changer for the side and his combination with Pearce, in the end, was crucial to making the eight. At just 23, his playmaking skills are only going to get better with Pearce and Blake Green as mentors. Predictable and painful to watch at times, the Knights attack rightly copped plenty of criticism during the season but crucially down the stretch when the pressure was on, the team found ways to win games they would have lost in previous seasons. It may not have been pretty but it brought out the fight, desire and will-to-win in a team that generally had folded like a cheap suit in previous campaigns when the blow torch was applied. There was no better example of their resolve than late season come-from-behind wins over Cronulla, Brisbane and Gold Coast, when they struggled for dominance with the footy but managed to prevail against equally desperate opposition. The relocation of the competition to Queensland in July due to COVID was tough for all the squads and their families but everyone you talk to at the Knights will tell you living in each others' pockets for a few months on the Sunshine Coast has brought the playing group and staff so much closer together. "It had its challenges initially but I thought we handled moving up there really well and was a great bonding experience for everyone," Adam O'Brien said. Brodie Jones was on the scrapeheap and sent back to the Cessnock Goannas for a game two seasons ago but in a great example to any local junior out there with aspirations, he is now a fully-fledged NRL player.
 

Jono078

Coach
Messages
17,579
Cheers. I thought that was really well written actually. Outlined the positives without being too over the top and not ignoring the issues.

Certainly put an ounce of optimism into me heading into the 2022 campaign.
 

Woosh

Juniors
Messages
706
Consecutive finals appearances point to a club heading in the right direction but how much closer are the Knights to breaking their two-decade long premiership drought? There were definitely some positive signs around coach Adam O'Brien's continued search for defensive consistency, resilience and a more steely mentality from his players. They won games last season they wouldn't have in 2020. There were exceptions but overall, there was more grit, more sustained effort, a greater work ethic and more belief. But none of that is ingrained in this squad yet and until it is, they won't consistently start beating the heavyweights. They also won't beat them unless there is a significant revamp to their largely structured and predictable attack, which floundered badly under the new rules, initially because of injuries to key players like Mitchell Pearce and Kalyn Ponga during the first half of the season. But even when everyone was on deck at the back-end, the lack of any real improvement in that area and the heavy reliance on Ponga to produce something special suggests the coaching staff will have plenty to work on when pre-season training kicks off next month. In the second of our three-part Knights' season review series, here is our Top 8 negatives from 2021. Poor, predictable, pedestrian, pop-gun! Call it what you want because there is no hiding from the truth when it comes to Newcastle's attack last season. For the most part, all the widespread criticism was warranted. The stats say it all. On points scored alone, the Knights were the second worse in the NRL above only wooden-spooners Canterbury after scoring just 428 points in 24 games at an average of 17 a game. The fact they finished seventh was off the back of improved defence, a soft draw and their ability to hang in and win some close games. In another telling stat, the Knights finished second overall for one pass hit-ups, a sure sign of predictability and a real lack of imagination while in possession. At the same time, they finished near the bottom for off-loads and second phase footy. Not having their spine together at training and on the field due to injuries throughout the year was clearly a big factor but even when Pearce, Ponga, Jake Clifford and Jayden Brailey were there at the back-end of the season, there was still a clunkiness about the way the team used the footy. Centre Bradman Best, one of the most threatening outside backs in the game, became a casualty of his side's inability to get him the ball in advantageous situations. For the second straight year since Adam O'Brien took over as coach, the Knights had next to no luck on the injury front. He was forced to use 31 players during the season as a result and at one stage, had to call up part-timer Mat Croker, who wasn't even under contract, to make his NRL debut. To make matters worse, there were injuries to key players, notably Pearce, Ponga, Best and Daniel Saifiti. Ponga missed the opening month after taking longer than expected to recover from off-season shoulder surgery before a supposed minor groin tear was misdiagnosed and kept him sidelined for six weeks. He played 15 games all up. Best played 17. For the second time in four years, Pearce tore his pec and ended up playing just 12 of his side's 25 games. Significantly, they won eight of the 12. All up, Pearce, Ponga, Clifford and Brailey only played a handful of games together. Edrick Lee was on top of the world after scoring a try in his Origin debut for Queensland in their series-deciding win over the Blues at the end of 2020. Then he seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth. In his first week back at pre-season training in January, Lee broke a bone in his foot which the club thought may prevent him from starting the season on time. Little did they know it would prevent him from playing at all and may, in fact, end his career. A planned return to the field seven or eight weeks into the season after rehabbing his foot was aborted when a scan revealed the fracture had not healed at all. After seeking a number of specialists' opinions, he eventually underwent delicate surgery, hoping for a successful outcome to allow him to play again. He was a big loss. Without him, the Knights not only lost a target man under the high ball but also an experienced winger capable of starting sets off strongly coming off his own line. When you talk about defeats that cost the Knights a stronger finishing position in the top eight, look no further than their two losses to Wests Tigers, a team who were, for most of the year, the 'toothless Tigers'. If the Knights error-riddled 24-20 loss in round three at home after two straight wins to start the season wasn't enough, they backed it up with an embarrassing performance in a 36-18 loss to the Tigers in Magic Round. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Depending on which way you look at it, Connor Watson's shock defection to the Roosters is either a vote of no confidence in how fast he believes the Knights can develop into a premiership force or a sign he thinks his own career can flourish more at Bondi. As for another departing player Josh King, there won't be a Knights fan out there who doesn't hope he kills it at the Storm. In a sign of their growing maturity, the Knights turned the relocation of the competition to Queensland in July from a negative into a positive experience after the NRL did a great job to keep the game going. But for fans in Newcastle, who saw only a fleeting glimpse of their team live in a COVID-ravaged 2020 season, the final three months of the season with the Queensland borders shut were another real let-down. For all their added belief and resilience, the Knights seem to have an inferiority complex when it comes to the Melbourne Storm and Sydney Roosters. It's almost like they are beaten before they run out. A week after thrashing the Cowboys 38-0 in round 16, they were battered 48-4 by the Storm. The stats against Melbourne make awful reading if you're a Knights fan. The Knights have lost their last 10 against the Storm and since 2010, have won just three of 21 games. Against the Roosters, they have won only two of their last 16 matches. In their only clash this year, Newcastle led 8-0 against a heavily depleted Roosters before losing 28-8. If it's a mindset thing, O'Brien and his players must find a way to change it. Edge defence hasn't been a Knights' strong point for a long time and not a whole lot changed in 2021.
 

Jono078

Coach
Messages
17,579
Another good write-up.

Really feel he did capture everything we’ve praised and also showed concerns over this year.

The expectations are we continue to steadily rise the ranks. Next year is huge for us. It tells us if we’re on the right path or if we need to start some sort of rebuild or reshaping of our team.

Want to be optimistic about 2022 but precedence of being a Knights supporter is to not hold your breath.
 

Woosh

Juniors
Messages
706
Two consecutive bottom-of-the-eight finals appearances despite savage injury tolls and dealing with issues around COVID over the last two seasons has given Knights fans something they haven't had much of over the past decade - hope. Hope that another NRL premiership title may not be just something they'll be fantasising about over the next 10 years. But invariably, improved performances bring with them higher expectations and whetted appetites for even more success. And therein lies the challenge for coach Adam O'Brien and his squad, heading into his third season at the helm in 2022. How does this side take another step forward? How does the coach turn his seventh-place team into a serious top four contender next year in the space of an off-season? Presumably, they won't be fortunate enough to be given the same cushy draw they enjoyed this year but when you factor in the injuries and the clear limitations of their one dimensional attack, there is no question there is enormous scope for improvement. A healthy roster will be key, as will the development of several of their young up-and-coming players. Here, in the final of our three-part Knights-in-review series, we look ahead to 2022 and how the Newcastle can find another level to consistently challenge the premiership heavyweights. The attack needs, and will surely get, a complete pre-season makeover. Their structured and risk-averse style that was so hard to watch and, for the most part, so easy to defend last season just doesn't cut it in the modern game anymore with the new repeat set rules. The Knights biggest attacking flaw in recent years has been their love affair for one-out hit-ups with no threat of second phase off-loads, even in good-ball areas. Mostly, that's led to forwards being gang-tackled and slow play-the-balls have followed. Rival sides have compressed their defence, knowing the Knights are not prone to taking risks by shifting the footy early in tackle counts. Continually being forced to attack off the back of slow play-the-balls against a set, fast-moving defence is a strategy that won't score you many points or win you many games. But that's often been the case and it's meant the likes of Kalyn Ponga and Bradman Best have largely been left to conjure opportunities out of nothing for themselves. One strategy O'Brien will seriously look at in the pre-season is the same one that Penrith have adopted with Isaah Yeo, Souths with Cam Murray and the Roosters with Victor Radley. Use the likes of Mitch Barnett, Kurt Mann or possibly even Phoenix Crossland as a ball-playing, running first receiver to allow the likes of Mitchell Pearce, Jake Clifford and Ponga to operate wider of the ruck for more width. That will automatically push a compressed defence wider and potentially open up space around the ruck and out wide. Tries from attacking kicks improved after Clifford arrived at the club last season but a lot of other teams are far more threatening then the Knights. So that's an area to be worked on. Since he landed in the job two seasons ago, Adam O'Brien has largely put all his eggs in the defensive basket for good reason - to try and fix the side's soft mentality and lack of resolve under pressure when they didn't have the footy. To some extent, the attack has taken a back-seat under his leadership because of it. But the constant criticism of their predictability with the footy last season and the obvious need to make structural changes won't mean O'Brien will take his eye off the ball defensively. As the finals series showed, strong defence still wins you the big games and O'Brien knows better than anyone his side may have improved in that area but are going to need to make further big gains in 2022 if they are to match their heavyweight rivals. Knowing the coach, he will still be having recurring nightmares about the three-minute concentration lapse in the semifinal against the Eels when his side conceded two soft tries that ultimately cost them the game. Rest assured, those three minutes will become mental drivers for him when pre-season training kicks off next month. After a tough 2020 with injuries, there was no let-up last season with some big casualties in Pearce, Ponga, Best, Daniel Saifiti, and Lachlan Fitzgibbon, along with the forced retirement of Blake Green, to contend with. It meant the spine only played a handful of games together. The club's reaction to the spate of injuries has been to put a broom through the high performance and medical departments in one of the biggest footy staffing changes ever seen at the Knights. Highly regarded Hayden Knowles, who has previously been at Parramatta, the Roosters, Gold Coast Titans and more recently at Penrith, has been recruited as the new high performance head and will bring in a new-look staff with him. This time next year, we'll know the impact of the changes. The only real inclusions are centre Dane Gagai and halfback Adam Clune with Connor Watson and Josh King the notable losses. Gagai's return is a big one. After four successful seasons at South Sydney, he returns a far better player than when he left and will add experience and strike in a position the Knights have struggled with in recent seasons. Losing a player of Watson's utility value will limit O'Brien's options while don't be surprised if the improving King goes to another level again at the Storm. With everyone healthy, it's a strong squad, particularly in the forwards with the Saifiti twins among the game's best props and David Klemmer still a real force up front alongside the likes of Barnett, Jayden Brailey and Tyson Frizell. Pearce's frame of mind heading into his final season at the club with speculation swirling around about his future and whether he will even play with the Knights in 2022, could become an issue. The Knights' chances of challenging for the top four could well hinge on their young guns and how quickly they develop given their lack of footy over the past two seasons. Phoenix Crossland, Simi Sasagi, Jirah Momoisea, Pasami Saulo, Dom Young and Starford To'a have all had a taste of NRL with bigger things expected, while there is a lot of excitement around teenage English fullback Bailey Hodgson. We're expecting the likes of Sasagi and Momoisea to take some giant strides over the pre-season along with Young. We won't see the fruits of Garth Brennan's appointment as head of pathways in the short-term but it's a significant move by the club, as will be the long-awaited opening of the Centre of Excellence, the club's new home base.
 

Jono078

Coach
Messages
17,579
Loved the 3-part series by Toohey. It's seriously like he's gathered the majority of thoughts here and summed them all up.
 

Burwood

Bench
Messages
4,218
Loved the 3-part series by Toohey. It's seriously like he's gathered the majority of thoughts here and summed them all up.

Very likely that’s what happened- he asked for input from fans on Twitter and used their suggestions to form his articles.
 

Jono078

Coach
Messages
17,579
Very likely that’s what happened- he asked for input from fans on Twitter and used their suggestions to form his articles.
Yep, but I’m still impressed he went ahead and mentioned some of the brutally honest issues. I feel media generally shy away from it. So kudos to him for listening to fans and actually summarizing and publishing our thoughts.
 

Knight Tales

Juniors
Messages
694
Really looking forward to Brennan's input over the next few years. Easily one of the great junior coaches in recent years and actually knows talent when he sees it. For me it is the key to our long term success. We must build within once again. Now that we have money and resources to keep them. A successful junior base means a stronger talent pool. Panthers gold standard now. All clubs will look within. Cap management demands it. Winning a comp by buying it only works if you have an established success rate like Roosters. Players go there for less.
Kids like Crossland, Best, Toa etc. should be inspiring each other to be better. Not waiting to be taught. Get territorial once again and take an affront to players being bought from outside to take what is rightfully theirs, if they want it bad enough. Panthers won the comp cos there was no hierarchy in their mentality. They enjoyed being out there and they let it be a celebration. Let them make errors and learn. Not wait for Pearce or KP to set up a structured play.
 
Last edited:

PhilGould

Juniors
Messages
2,095

Newcastle signs boom rookie​

The Knights have scored a coup by picking up one of the best young players in the Warriors' system.

Jyris Glamuzina, a 20-year-old edge back-rower, was on the cusp of the Warriors' NRL team last season.

A former Kiwi under 16 and under 18 representative, he has the size and speed of the modern day edge forward and given a good pre-season, will put pressure on for a top grade spot at Newcastle next year.

Glamuzina started last season in the Warriors' bubble, but was released late in the year to get some game time under his belt and played some great football for Brisbane club side Redcliffe.

 

Jono078

Coach
Messages
17,579
Don't know anything about him but that all sounds great and fills a need! Hopefully he has a big off-season and can secure a bench spot at some point next year.
 

Burwood

Bench
Messages
4,218
So is it a top 30 contract? Thought we were extremely close to having a full squad already. And if he is, that is a nail in the coffin of Hoy/Johns.
 

PhilGould

Juniors
Messages
2,095
Only a second tier deal for Jyris according to Toohey. Not the same young backrower signing he's been hinting at.
 

Old dog

Juniors
Messages
1,601
Won’t hurt for him and a bunch of our younger players to get some reserve grade games in after last seasons cancellations
 

PhilGould

Juniors
Messages
2,095
Can find very little info and even less footage on him. Someone on the Warriors forum said "Perfect modern day prop. Fast, big motor and passing game."
 
Messages
539
I watched a few Dolphins Colts (U20s) games where he played this year and he was good without being a standout. Hes big and mobile thats for sure
 

Latest posts

Top