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Second-half lessons key: Brown

Knights coach Nathan Brown believes the key to their 14-point victory over the Canberra Raiders was on the back of belief and a lesson learnt after a number of second halves gone wrong to start the season.

‌Newcastle have led at half-time in four games this year but have fallen behind the opposition as fatigue and inexperience crept in.

After challenging the Raiders to two golden point clashes last season and conjuring up a 44-0 scoreline between both sides in their only trial back in February, the Knights knew they were in with a much bigger chance than many rugby league experts were giving them despite losing seven-straight heading into the fixture.

"Canberra is obviously a quality team and we got some good contribution from the whole squad," Brown said post-game.

"To get a good win at home against good opposition… I'm happy for everybody.

"The 10-15 minutes before half time were far better [in effort] and just after [half-time]."

Brown resisted the chance to bring former Knights skipper Trent Hodkinson back into the clash and allowed for the halves combination of Brock Lamb and Jaelen Feeney to have another chance at the Raiders pack.

Lamb set up Sione Mata'utia's first four-pointer of the afternoon while Feeney sent Englishmen Joe Wardle over the line to get the Knights on the front-foot in the second half.

"'Lamby' (Lamb) has copped a little bit of criticism but people don't take into account his age and experience," Brown said.

"His first half of footy last round against the Gold Coast was really good while today he was good for 80 minutes and Jaelen had a controlled game.

"I think the players have got faith in them."

Brown referred to this time of the year last season as pivotal in the side's development and expects the same to occur again with only Dane Gagai (Queensland) likely to play representative football.

"This period last year was a real period of growth when we had the byes and long turnarounds," he said.

"We've just come off a bye and into some real good training and now a win.

"If we get the same growth this year we should see some more wins start to tick over."

The Knights lost prop-forward Jacob Saifiti before the break after the 21-year-old was stretchered from the field, while Brown admitted Lachlan Fitzgibbon (knee) and Josh Starling (hand) are all doubtful for next week's clash with the Panthers.

"It's more precautionary [for Jacob]… I don’t think they're expecting the worse," he said.

"He had some pins and needles down the side of his neck and arm but they think it's more precautionary."

"Lachy 'Fitz' was outstanding. He did his knee (torn meniscus) in the first 15 minutes and it's not looking like it's going to be a good result. 

"Josh Starling may have broken a hand."

Both Starling and Fitzgibbon will require scans while the Knights are expected to update the condition of Saifiti once known.


Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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