Brown's hope from veteran Tiger's development
It's been 10 years in the making but Newcastle coach Nathan Brown has used the development of veteran Wests Tigers back-rower Chris Lawrence as an example of what's to come for his younger Knights.
The Knights boasted one of the most inexperienced left edges in recent memory in their 50-14 loss to the Warriors on Saturday by partnering 14-game 'veteran' and mid-week recruit Brendan Elliot with 18-year-old duo Jack Cogger and Cory Denniss and fellow club debutant Mitchell Barnett.
As a result, the rookie quartet were exposed on countless occasions and by game's end Warriors winger David Fusitu'a's left Hunter Stadium with four tries to his name.
The events of the Knights' 36-point loss triggered memories of when his former Dragons side ran rampant over a then 18-year-old Lawrence and his Tigers teammates back in 2006.
It led to Brown noting the potential positives a similar flogging can bring to his rookies considering Lawrence was an Australian international just four years later.
"Our left edge had a tough day, where the Warriors obviously scored a lot of tries. Including two new players to the club: one that's played two first grade games and the other who's used to playing with an international either side of him at the Roosters," Brown said.
"There's a lot of lessons to be learnt for the younger, inexperienced players and I'm sure all of them will develop. Unfortunately just having them all together makes it tough on the individual.
"[In 2006 the Dragons] played a Tigers team with a young Chris Lawrence in it and Mark Gasnier scored three tries and set up another three or so on him," Brown added.
"Chris Lawrence was an 18-year-old kid and four years later he playing for Australia. Unfortunately having a lot of them out there at once, there's going to be some hard lessons."
Newcastle's first bye for the season brings much-needed relief to Brown's young squad who are set to earn competition points for the first time in over two months. The coach admitted he won't be smashing them into submission at training over the break however.
"Having the time to let their young bodies recover is probably more important at this point," he said. "Because it's a long, hard year for them."
Brown was also hopeful of having Peter Mata'utia, Chanel Mata'utia (both knee), Nathan Ross (calf), co-captain Tariq Sims (groin) and Robbie Rochow (arm) back for the Knights' clash against the Dragons in a fortnight's time.