Newcastle coach Adam O’Brien has launched a passionate defense of his coaching credentials after the Knights slumped to their eighth home loss in nine games against the Bulldogs.
The 24-10 defeat ensured the Knights still have the worst defensive record in the NRL after 20 rounds, but O’Brien used his history with grand final teams at the Storm and Roosters as evidence he knows how to turn things around.
“It is a hard one for me as well,” O’Brien said.
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“Previous to getting this job here I was involved in four grand finals.
“I know how those teams prepared. I know the systems they used defensively.
“You don’t unlearn that knowledge. Applying it and getting it ingrained is going to take some time clearly.
“Week to week we can talk about one area of that defense and we can fix it in seven days, but then we will let another area of our defense down.
“It is going to take a bit of time and I know some people don’t want to wait that long, but it is.”
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O’Brien believes if the Knights had made the finals this season it would have papered over the cracks of a deeper issue within the team.
“I have seen how the teams prepare in those four grand finals,” O’Brien said.
How the players performed. How the club prepares. How it performs.
“I have seen all that stuff and I haven’t unlearnt that, but it is going to take some time.
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“We have got the right people in the job. We just need to have a plan and we need to coach the hell out of it and hopefully we look back at this season as a year that helped us grow.
“Had we scraped into the finals this year it would have stuck a bandaid on a problem that is still there.
“We need to stick tight and work our way out of it.”