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Poor options cost Knights again

Newcastle Knights coach Nathan Brown says his team was forced to lament yet another error from a ricochet that resulted in a match-turning try against the Broncos – fresh after their heartbreaking defeat to the Bulldogs a week ago. 

After a strong opening half that saw the Knights leading by six, their advantaged was short-lived when a flying James Roberts pounced on a loose kick from Joe Wardle after the Englishmen was caught with the ball on the last tackle.

Newcastle's tactics of spreading the ball to the edges on the last tackle for a kick has been a common theme throughout clashes in 2017, however Wardle was filling in on the left edge for Peter Mata'utia who left the field in the fourth minute with concussion and failed to return. 

"The thing that was most disappointing with the play after half-time today – it was the opposite side of the field but similar to last week in the way there were many numbers of things we could have done and we did the worst one," Brown said post-game.

"Last week we kicked into Moses Mbye, who was Canterbury’s fastest player on the field, and this week we found Jimmy the Jet (Roberts).

"[Trent Hodkinson] could have kicked it, Joe could have passed it, Joe could have got tackled, the worst play was to kick it into Jimmy the Jet and we found that way.

"Did that play a part in the result? Yeah, it played a huge part in the result. But what happened after it next, before we become a good team we've got to get that right anyway."

‌Brisbane piled on two tries in quick succession after Roberts' four-pointer to suddenly lead by 12 with a half-an-hour of play remaining.

Newcastle closed the gap to trail by two, however the final hurdle proved out of reach when former Knights player Korbin Sims slammed the ball down to give Wayne Bennett's men the win. 

"We've got to understand that when something really horrible goes against us like that, we've got to learn to turn the game with our defence and really fight hard and come together and stop things," Brown said.

"I thought we played some great footy at 24-22 and then we came up with some errors when the pressure mounted a bit.

"We had five, six errors at the backend of that game but I felt confident that we could have gone past them. I thought we looked good with the ball.

"We made the beautiful big line break and then had them stripped on the far left edge but came up with the cold drop.

"It's never any one person with us. We had numbers of people. 

"We're all disappointed – the players and staff. But we're all optimistic that there is a good football team within the young players as they keep developing."

Meanwhile, Brown confirmed Peter Mata'utia would need to pass relevant concussion protocol as the Knights prepare to take on the Roosters in Sydney on Friday. 

"When I asked him how he was after the game, he just said how he was more disappointed he couldn't go back on and play," Brown.

"Hopefully he passes so he can play next week."

New recruit Shaun Kenny-Dowall is also expected to be named for the Knights on Tuesday to take on his former club in Round 20.


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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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