Coach’s Say: Round 11

The Gold Coast Titans may have lost their last five matches, but nib Newcastle Knights coach Nathan Brown admits the Gold Coast side is showing signs of good footy following last week’s clash.

“They were very good last week,” Brown commented.

“The Titans this year have been a little bit similar to us where we’ve proven to be good enough in some occasions and not so good in others.

“The challenge for us on the Gold Coast, and indeed all of the NRL teams not in the eight, is to make sure when we’re not going quite as good as we can, we can find a way to win games.

“Last week under a bit of adversity, I thought for the Titans to go down to Melbourne and be defeated, they were a touch unlucky in some ways, because it was a big effort.”

The Knights coach maintains his left edge is likely to see a bit of action this week and it’s important his men connect well to produce some good results.

“It’s important they’re all on the same level, it’s part of the sport and it’s a team game,” Brown explained.

“Those edges connecting and communicating well together is key to them defending well together.”

Asked about whether young fullback Kalyn Ponga is taking on too much responsibility ahead of halves Brock Lamb and Connor Watson, Brown simply replied no.

“If you watch most of Kalyn’s best work, he’s getting the ball as a second, third receiver so we don’t want him to be obsessed with getting block plays because we do want him to get out the back of some things,” added Brown.

“KP has had a very good year to date, and apparently after ten times starting at fullback, he’s in line for Queensland, so we’re pretty comfortable with how he’s going.

“Brock’s control and how dominant he was today at training is where we need him to be.

“With Mitchell (Pearce) gone, we have two very young halves… our halves, hooker and fullback are not that experienced, and I think Danny Levi may have played the most games, while even Slade Griffin is only a 35-40 gamer.

“We’re very young in that area so we certainly do need to share the love a little bit and we would prefer Brock to be the more dominant person which will help KP and Connor (Watson) as well.”

While discipline has been a talking point in the last couple of weeks, Brown maintains it’s more about getting the small areas of their game right.

“I thought we were a bit stiff with some stuff the other day but looking at the Connor situation, that was a real discipline thing, but little bits of our game could certainly improve from a distance,” Brown said.

“I don’t think we’re a badly disciplined side, I think we’ve had some moments where we’ve let ourselves down.”

And Brown agreed he’s been a bit harder on the players so far this season.

“We’re certainly getting a bit harder on the players, and we need them to play like they’ve played 100 NRL games each,” Brown maintained.

“The only way for them to do that is for us to be a little bit harder on them, a little harder on themselves and up skill themselves a bit quicker.

“They’re all very open to improvement, they’re growing, they’re a good bunch of kids, so if we’re a little harder on them, they certainly do accept it well.”

Meanwhile, Brown has confirmed the Club is in talks with Melbourne Storm prop Tim Glasby.

“We’d like to think we’re well in the fight, and we certainly haven’t been told a no so we’re quite hopeful,” he said.

“With the staff we decide what players we want to chase, and Tim is obviously a player we feel can certainly help our Club and move further forward than what we are.

“We certainly want a power type of athlete, we feel that can help our squad.”

The coach also discussed talks with Dragons big man Lesson Ah Mau.

“We had a good meeting with Leeson and he expressed a desire to be in Auckland if the option came about, but whether he is going there or not I couldn’t tell you,” Brown stated.

“With recruitment, you have your hits and you have your swings and misses, but if you’ve got money and you’ve got a club moving forward, the players will eventually come and that was proven last year.

“The market is getting skinnier with front rowers at this stage, but there’s always changes, salary cap pressure, so we’ll just have to be patient until the right things come along.”

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