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Sack Adam O'Brien


I guess some of the issues O'Brien was referring to in the press conference a couple of weeks ago are now starting to come out re-wrong gear worn at training and being late etc

Question still remains, why didn't O'Brien set the standards and stamp out this behaviour rather than letting it fester? Did he try and get no traction and gave up, didn't get the support from management, became too hard for a head coach to keep on top of everything especially with inexperienced assistant coaches.


bet he didn’t let anyone be late for the bus
I’m curious in AOB’s 4 grand final experiences, whether any players were late for the bus?

Probably not.

Our next coach must have at least 4 experiences with players late to the bus, so they can handle the situation adequately.

Spot On

Matthew Johns as coach hey.

Jack Blythe, give yourself an uppercut.

FFS, reporting on this circus just hit rock bottom with that article.

Knight Tales

We are all fully aware this club’s foundations have been compromised. We don’t need media folk telling us the obvious. This talk of we need leaders will only work if it starts at the very top all the way to the bottom. Good luck with that. Our CEO took three years to work out he needed an NRL competent football manager. Thankfully he found one of the very best.



RL 2022: Newcastle coach Adam O’Brien denies Kalyn Ponga has too much power at Knights

August 19, 2022 - 5:59AM

News Corp Australia Sports Newsroom

Adam O’Brien insists superstar skipper Kalyn Ponga does not have too much power at Newcastle as the embattled coach vowed to inject a harder edge to stop the rot at the strife-torn Knights.

O’Brien opened up to News Corp on the Ponga affair, his future and addressed the state of the Knights in the lead-up to Sunday’s clash against Canberra at McDonald Jones Stadium.

It has been a tumultuous fortnight for the Knights.

The club was rocked by the on-field verbal spat between David Klemmer and trainer Hayden Knowles, which preceded leaked vision of Ponga and Kurt Mann emerging from a pub toilet cubicle in Newcastle on the night of their loss to the Broncos last Saturday night.

Ponga and Mann have since been drug tested by the NRL as the integrity unit continues its investigation to determine whether the Newcastle duo are guilty of any wrongdoing.

Amid that backdrop, O’Brien has been buffeted by criticisms of his star player’s attitude, the club’s wider collective culture and whether Craig Bellamy’s former assistant at Melbourne has the skill set to haul the Knights out of trouble.

“At the end of the day, the buck stops with me,” O’Brien said.

“I need to drive tougher standards and get the guys to where I need them to get to.

“It’s not ideal when you see a great club like this being dragged through the mud.

“We’re all hurting.”


There is a view Ponga and his father Andre have too much clout at the Knights. It was reinforced when Ponga Snr was front-and-centre at a press conference in April as the Knights announced a five-year, $6 million extension for his Queensland Origin star son.

But O’Brien scoffed at suggestions his captain runs Newcastle.

“In terms of Kalyn having too much say in this club, it’s the opposite actually,” he said.

“It’s my job to develop Kalyn and make sure he has more of a voice in the team as the captain.

“I gave him the captaincy and I need to help him along the way, not cut his legs off every time he doesn’t speak up or makes an error — that responsibility starts with me.

“His role in meetings is getting better and better and I still believe Kalyn is the right person with ‘Brails’ (Jayden Brailey) to play that part.”

Kalyn Ponga and his father, Andre, at the press conference for the fullback’s new deal at Newcastle in April. Picture: Peter Lorimer/Getty Images


Ponga has become one of the most polarising figures in the code. He was sensational for Queensland in this year’s epic Origin series win but his club form for the past two years has been patchy and riddled with injury.

The sight of Ponga drinking alcohol at a time when he has suffered three concussions in six weeks — ending his season — has triggered savage condemnation over his commitment to the club.

There have been calls for his sacking as captain. While disappointed in Ponga for his role in the toilet-cubicle saga, O’Brien is adamant the 24-year-old cares about his football at the Knights.

“I can’t speak specifically about the incident because the NRL integrity unit is investigating it, but naturally I’m disappointed,” O’Brien said.

“The thing I am disappointed about is it’s been a tough year and we’ve had to stand down two other players (Enari Tuala and Bradman Best) for being late to the team bus. It’s not needed at the moment.

“I want to speak about Kalyn as a person and his commitment to this club. I get that he is a marquee player and with that comes a level of scrutiny around our performances.

“There has been a lot of commentary around his performances, but in Origin he did a great job and he has played some very good games for us in a challenging season.

“Kalyn is a humble young man and I know he cares, 100 per cent. I see it in his training. I know it might come across that Kalyn might not care because of his relaxed nature and the way he speaks, but behind the scenes I see the way he acts.

“We haven’t seen the best of his footy, that is well and truly in front of him and he is developing in a lot of areas that don’t always get shown in 80-minute games.

“It’s clearly on me and the club to help him develop as a leader. Young people have moments of poor judgement. Just because you have ‘Captain’ beside your name, it doesn’t mean Kalyn has grown in maturity 20 years.

“I am yet to meet the perfect human.”


O’Brien admits he has been taken aback by assessments of his personality. Some volatile outbursts have raised eyebrows and the 44-year-old says Newcastle’s slide into the cellar, after two finals campaigns, has triggered introspection.

Amid rumblings over his future in Newcastle, O’Brien is adamant he can reignite the club as a finals force.

“The thing I am disappointed in myself about is that I allowed commentary around my nature to soften me in some areas,” he said.

“I need to go back to myself a bit. I need to be who I am and be consistent with it and not chop and change, so the players don’t know what kind of coach they will get each day.

“When it’s time to wield a heavy stick or be direct on standards, I need to do that. But at the same time you need empathy and care for them. Ultimately, as a coach you have to motivate behaviour. Sometimes it’s a firmer hand and at other times it’s a cuddle.

“I am trying to develop as a young coach and I relaxed a bit, maybe because of comments around my personality.

“I relaxed on too many standards and if there are issues during the week in training, it will come out in your football somewhere.

“I believe I’m the guy to turn this club around. If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be here today.”


O’Brien addressed suggestions he may have lost the dressing room and that the Knights have lost the blue-collar mentality that gave the club its premiership soul.

“I am confident the players are on board,” he said.

“I have seen enough in my relationships to know there have been some spirited performances during the season, but day to day you can tell if you have them or not. That isn’t something that keeps me lying awake at night, I don’t believe I have lost them.

“I know I have a group of players who truly care. I’m not shying away from the fact I’m not happy with our season and culture will play a part in our performances.

“There are standards that sit squarely with me that I need to drive.

“The No. 1 thing I need to make sure is we nail our pre-season. I wasn’t overly happy with our last pre-season, that sits with me, but I love being at this club and I don’t want to run away from this, I want to run to it and make sure we come out the other side.

“It will be worth it in the long run and it’s something worth waiting for.”


Newcastle’s scrumbase depth is skinny and it will be further eroded by Anthony Milford’s departure to the Dolphins next season. The Knights have been linked with Luke Brooks and O’Brien is open to signing the Tigers halfback.

“The one thing I will say is the teams that have done well this year have experienced sevens and have had minimal changes to their spine,” he said.

“Someone of Brooks’ experience would certainly add to us.

“Where we are at with him I’m not sure, but the halves is an area we need to strengthen. The guys that are looking after recruitment would be keeping a close eye on where we can make movement in that area.”


O’Bien said the appointment of former Cowboys premiership-winner Peter Parr as football boss is a key plank in Newcastle’s fightback.

“Peter Parr will be huge for this place and I have guys like Danny Buderus and Andrew Johns who are club legends,” O’Brien said.

“It hasn’t been a great start for Peter, especially with the death of his good mate ‘Greeny’ (former Cowboys coach Paul Green), but he has been strong and unwavering for us already. His few addresses to the team have been on-point and having him in the building will allow myself and Danny to prosper.

“You can grow from going through some tough times, but you need to make the correct decisions and I have some ideas around that.

“We need to give our fans a reason to come back to us next year, so we have to finish the season well. The fabric of the Knights is still there. There are people in and around the town who are prepared to get their hands dirty to get in and help.

“I am confident we can be that great Newcastle team again, but at the moment it’s just words and a pipedream. It’s up to us to make that happen now.”


I get that he wouldn't publicly bag Kalyn, but I genuinely think he believes what he is spouting here.

- We're accepting installing a captain who needs guidance and direction and isn't qualified for the role
- He accepts Kalyn's current efforts as being someone who cares.
- We're interested in strengthening a spine with a player from a wooden spoon club who has never played a finals match
- We have a coach who thought he had to be nice because the media said he was a bit angry

Whilst none of these points are new, it seems like he operates in a vacuum. For someone who has been at the Storm and the Roosters, he willingly accepts reduced standards in every area at the Knights. No genuine leader to captain the club. No halfback. No goalkicker. A team that can't simultaneously train attack and defence in the same week.

He also doesn't appear to have any sense on how to drive Kalyn forward, merely just accepting and defending the characteristics and approach he already has.

He acts like he is self aware of his and the club's limitations, but appears to confuse taking ANY action with taking GOOD action to resolve it.
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Calling Ponga an Origin star is a bit of a stretch- to date he's had two especially good games for Qld. Game 2 2018 and Game 3 this year.


I do like AOB confirming what I suspected in that he has dropped his standards since his arrival, probably in fear. He should have set a standard from the get go and those who couldn’t comply would’ve been weeded out much earlier and I dare say we wouldn’t be in this predicament now.

He’s lost time so he has to change things quick if he wants to be head coach beyond next year.
I do like AOB confirming what I suspected in that he has dropped his standards since his arrival, probably in fear. He should have set a standard from the get go and those who couldn’t comply would’ve been weeded out much earlier and I dare say we wouldn’t be in this predicament now.

He’s lost time so he has to change things quick if he wants to be head coach beyond next year.
*beyond rd 8


I do like AOB confirming what I suspected in that he has dropped his standards since his arrival, probably in fear. He should have set a standard from the get go and those who couldn’t comply would’ve been weeded out much earlier and I dare say we wouldn’t be in this predicament now.

He’s lost time so he has to change things quick if he wants to be head coach beyond next year.
I like it shows the vulnerability of a first time coach
It does really mean he needs an experianced assistance coach

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