Kurt Gidley returned to fullback in Round 14 as the Knights went down to the Roosters 29-12 at Allianz Stadium. Credit: Grant Trouville. Copyright: NRL Photos.
Now that the Knights' off-field dramas have come to a head through the intervention of the NRL, Newcastle skipper Kurt Gidley says it is time for his side to find similar stability on the pitch in the wake of yet another disappointing loss.
With NRL chief David Smith announcing earlier in the day that the league had taken ownership control of the club, ending a tumultuous period of negotiations between former owners the Hunter Sports Group and the Knights members, Newcastle dominated the opening half of their clash with the Roosters before being overpowered by the premiers 29-12 at Allianz Stadium.
The loss, the Knights' seventh in a row, leaves the proud club alone at the bottom of the NRL ladder on six points after the Sharks pocketed two points from the bye to move above them into 15th place.
Needing an unlikely 10 wins from their last 11 matches to have any hope of playing finals football, Gidley said the players now had no excuse for their poor run of form that has seen them go winless since a Round 6 win over the Raiders over two months ago.
"It's just nice to have it finalised... and from a player's point of view we need to get it sorted on the field," said Gidley.
"It's been sorted off the field and we've just got to keep working to something better on the field."
Coach Wayne Bennett said after match that the ownership issues that have plagued the club for much of the season had little to do with his side's on-field struggles.
"You can see out there tonight, the effort's there, they're all putting the effort," said Bennett.
"We're just finding a way to beat ourselves; it's got really nothing to do with who owns the place and who doesn't."
Bennett, whose future with the Knights has been unclear since Nathan Tinkler severed ties with the club last month, said the recent developments had not resolved the question of whether he would remain at Newcastle beyond the end of the year.
“I am asked every week (about my future) and I say the same thing every week. I still don’t know if the NRL will be able to resolve the issue or not.
"I don’t know what model they will finish up with in the end. At the moment it is all unclear.”
"It's a starting point, it's not stable yet.
"The NRL have done a really good job to get to that position and Nathan's put us in a much better position than we were a few years ago.
"So hopefully in the next few months when we sort it out we'll finalise totally and there will be a new beginning, but we're not there yet."