While the Newcastle Knights may have finished in 7th place last season, improvement is needed if coach Adam O’Brien is going to keep his coaching job at the club beyond 2022.
Strong results like the ones at online casinos au are what O’Brien and his charges need this season, with wins over some of the big guns in the competition and a push towards a top 6 finish.
The future of Kalyn Ponga will hang heavy over the clubs this year. Ponga has an option to leave the club at the end of this season if he wishes, and with the Redcliffe Dolphins apparently looking to lure him north, it will be tough for the Knights to hold onto their boy wonder. Thats a big problem too, outside of Ponga there have been few flashes of players in this team who look like they could take their games to the next level.
Bradman Best looks like a possible representative player at times, but his injury record is terrible, and just as he gets started it seems he spends a few weeks on the sidelines. Dominic Young has looked like he could be a handy player, but he is still very raw and a few seasons away from being a force in the NRL.Tex Hoy has a lot of wraps on him, but I just don’t see it. Meanwhile Jake Clifford joined the club in the middle of last season and looked to be one of the more steady influences in the whole lineup.
When you look at the Knights forwards, an area that should be a real strength for them, there are more areas of concern.
David Klemmer played lacklustre football last season, to the point where he was a non factor for the Knights by seasons end. He needs to step up big time this year. Star recruit Tyson Frizell had some OK moments, but there is no doubt he didn’t bring the punch to the Knights side most would have wanted to see out of him. Mitchell Barnett was very good in some of their games, but his form was a little all over the place at times while Jayden Brailey will be out for nearly the entire 2022 season after suffering an Achilles injury.
It doesn’t make good reading for Knights supporters.
On top of all that coach Adam O’Brien was launching into his players early in 2021, and there’s only so many times you can do that before a team switches off. For all the huge wraps on O’Brien when the Knights signed him, there has been little to suggest he is anything other than a capable first grade coach.
How this all play out in 2022 is anyones guess. I think we will see the Newcastle Knights is the middle of the pack once again the year, where Covid restrictions, injuries and suspensions can really shape where your team finishes this season.
I would see the Knights finishing in 8th place, but I could also very easily see them missing the finals series this year. I just don’t see anything about this side that worries me outside of Ponga, and if we get news during the season they he has decided to sign for the Dolphins I wouldn’t be shocked if that signalled a steep decline in the clubs performance from that moment on.
Knights fans have had some terrible seasons in recent years, and this won’t be one of the worst at all, but I expect it to be pretty frustrating none the less.