The last 4 games for the Newcastle Knights have been nothing short of horrendous, having conceded a whopping 179 points against and a mere 10 points for.
Regardless of whether or not you are a Knights supporter, the Knights situation is bad for NRL. It has gone beyond a “bad trot” to a real concern, I feel for the Knights staff, players and fans.
While it is important to bring through younger players, having them get annihilated every week is not going to do them any favours. We only need to look at Jarrod Mullen who was selected for NSW at 20 years old. Many figures criticised the selection, concerned for his long-term career. Mullen was dropped after only one game and in my opinion he failed to ever reach his true potential in the halves. There needs to be a balance of youth and experience in the red and blue.
The Knights not only lack experience but more importantly LEADERSHIP, this is why there is no quick fix for the Knights. Bringing in a few leaders will give them the foundation to begin developing leaders from within the club.
Hard Decisions for the Future
With Jarrod Mullen’s career riddled with injuries it is time for the Knights faithful to make way for a new halves partner. Furthermore they need to look at the rest of the spine and bring some experience to Fullback and Hooker respectively. Any remaining funds should be spent bringing in a forward or two.
If Mullen retires at the completion of this season, I would be throwing everything at Corey Norman. With the Eel’s Salary Cap dramas they may not be able to compete for Normans signature.
After signing Corey Norman, they need to lure Nathan Peats down from the Gold Coast at then end of next season. The pair already formed a solid combination at the Eels, getting them back together would all but complete their spine. Alternatively Cameron McInnes is proving rather handy for the Rabbits, should Tyler Randall fail to stamp his name on the No. 9 by the end of next season.
Lure Valentine Homes away from the Sharks, by offering the No.1 spot at the Knights. He is not off contract until 2017, leaving Jaelen Feeney to fulfill his current contract.
Hunting down Dene Haletau or Elijah Taylor from the Tigers to come in at lock replacing the retiring Jeremy Smith and going after Ethan Lowe at the expense of Tariq Sims for the 2016 season. There are plenty of good options coming off contract in 2017 to further strengthen the squad.
Additionally, Lachlan Maranta may be a good pick up to replace the outgoing James McManus for next season.
With 2016 well underway, there are few pickings left for the 2017 season. The Knights need to look at a 2-3 year plan, with major changes taking place for the 2018 season and the final touches being carried out in 2019.