They have a billionaire owner, one of the greatest rugby league coaches the world has ever seen and a squad full of talent and experience. So why are the Newcastle Knights the disappointments of 2012?
Hard to put your finger on really. Perhaps the problem is Bennett’s coaching style?
The mercurial coach has had to reinvent himself in recent times and has based his game plans around defence. It sure did work at St George Illawarra Dragons who won the competition in 2010. But now the game is about attack and imagination.
Bennett himself said he had no answer to the Knights problems.
The roster may have talent, but are their best days behind them? Probably.
The problem with this argument is that there are guys in the team that aren’t passed it. They are at the peak of their powers and still they go backwards.
Darius Boyd is an Australian and Queensland representative, yet he still hasn’t proved his worth at Newcastle. His numbers are way down and they continue to drop.
Akuila Uate is one of the deadliest finishers in the National Rugby League. But even he has struggled in recent times and has now found himself lout of the New South Wales team for State of Origin III.
Jarrod Mullen, Kade Snowden, Zeb Taia and Tyrone Roberts have all gone backwards.
Tonight the spluttering Knights host the Wests Tigers in Monday Night Football.
Knights interchange player Adam Cuthbertson believes one win can turn the Knights season around.
“That one win can make a big difference. It’s been a while since we’ve won and I suppose you can forget the feeling,” Cuthbertson told Newcastleknights.com.au.
“Even out on the training paddock when we spilt-up into teams and you can get that little bit of a winning feeling.
“You can see how much more the boys enjoy winning rather than being on the team that’s losing.
“If we can just get that winning culture and vibe back into the joint, I think anything is still possible for us this year.”
That last win came in round 8. A long time ago.
Tonight isn’t about Newcastle. This is about the Tigers and what mindset they bring to Hunter Stadium. Wests have been to hell and back this week and its their attitude that will determine this game.
You can take a Knights win tonight with a grain of salt. Next week they play the rejuvenated Parramatta Eels. We will see where they stand next week. Probably further away from the Telstra Premiership trophy then they were this week.