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Knights not overloading Ponga, says Brown

Newcastle coach Nathan Brown has defended Kalyn Ponga's workload in the opening 10 rounds of the Telstra Premiership season.

There have been media reports suggesting that the club is becoming too reliant on the star fullback, especially in Mitchell Pearce's absence.

Brown was quick to close that theory because of the many changes and inexperience of the halves this season.

"KP [Kaylyn Ponga] has had a very good year to date", Brown said.

"After 10 starting games he's apparently in line for Queensland. So, we are very comfortable with how he is going."

The Knights mentor believes that Brock Lamb has plenty of potential to improve, and while his defence has lifted in recent weeks, he needs to become more of a leader.

"Brock's training today was far better ", Brown said. "His control and how dominant he was in his talking today is what we need as a team.

Titans v Knights - Round 11

"That's because we have very young halves with Mitchell [Pearce] gone.

"So, we do need to share the love a bit, but we do expect Brock to be the more dominant player. When Brock is more dominant that will then help KP [Ponga] and help Connor [Watson] as well."

Brown also clarified he does not believe Newcastle are an ill-disciplined side overall, but errors in judgement at key times have proved costly.

"I am certainly getting a bit harder on them," Brown said.

"I guess we just need to be a little harder on them for them to be a little harder on themselves. Look, they're great trainers and a great bunch of kids.

"So if we do go a bit harder on them they do except it very well."

Coaches Corner – Who replaces Cam Smith?

While the task of taking on the Gold Coast Titans, after Souths and Penrith, may seem easier on paper, Brown does not want his team to become complacent.

He's quick to add the Titans are in a similar position to his own side in that they can be very hard to beat on any given day.

"If thy can produce something like they did last week against Melbourne I am sure they'll give themselves a very good chance," Brown said.

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