Possession Newcastle's downfall again
Newcastle Knights coach Nathan Brown said his side won't consistently win games in the NRL Telstra Premiership until they can learn to better control possession.
Speaking after the 40-18 loss to the Warriors at Mt Smart Stadium in Round 4, Brown said a lack of ball had contributed greatly to his side being demolished in the second period, after scores were tied at 12-12 going into the break.
"The second half we just never had any possession, there was 20 or 25 minutes where we never had the ball," Brown said.
"As it stands at the moment, and was clearly shown today, when we maintain 50/50 possession we seem to play some decent footy and we are right in there.
"We showed that against Canberra in the last sort of 60 minutes last week, we showed it in the first 40 against a very classy Warriors outfit.
"We are not a bad team when we do that, but when we don't maintain possession and we don't find ways to get the ball back we don't compete very well."
The Knights have won just one possession count so far this season, enjoying 54 per cent of the ball in the 24-24 draw with the Raiders in Round 3.
Against the Warriors in Auckland the Knights finished the match with only 38 per cent of possession and hardly visited the opposition 20m zone in the second half.
On the other side of the ball Newcastle were forced to make 118 tackles more than the Warriors, and by the end of the game had missed 46 tackles.
Brown accepted that some of it was the result of having such a young side, but said his players need to be better.
"We have got to learn over the course of the journey to be more resilient when we are under the pump," Brown said.
"(We need to) try and maintain possession better for longer periods to try and give us a good chance, because we actually do okay when we go set for set.
"We just struggle when we don't have the ball for longer periods, where your really good top sides like the Cowboys, Broncos and Storm can go seven or eight minutes without the ball.
"We clearly aren't at that stage of our development at the minute."
Meanwhile veteran forward Mickey Paea said his side have what it takes to compete against the Storm on Saturday in Round 5, provided they can combine the best points from their last two matches and produce close to an 80-minute showing.
"Last week we didn't get our start right, this week we got our start right but failed to execute in the second half," Paea told NRL.com.
"I think if we can play better for longer periods of the game we will give ourselves an opportunity to compete.
"We need to take the positives from our last two games to have the type of performance we need against Melbourne. In this competition you can't just play for 40 minutes."