New-look Knights impress Brown with trial win

nib Newcastle Knights coach Nathan Brown admits he was impressed with his new side in their trial match win on Wednesday afternoon, but said the new play-the-ball rule posed a few issues for both sides.

“We came down to Melbourne and had some really good forwards playing and physically at times we looked okay,” said Brown.

A more experienced side played the first half, but he coach insisted there were plenty of new and old combinations that stood out.

“Brock (Lamb) and Jack (Cogger) have played together plenty of times and they looked good,” Brown added.

“Mitchell (Pearce) and Connor (Watson) looked really good against Melbourne’s better side; they looked threatening and very sharp but as a whole our combinations will take a little bit of time.

“Both our hookers (Slade Griffin and Danny Levi) got a good bit of time and Kalyn (Ponga) got 40 minutes at fullback, so it’s a good starting point.

“We had a lot of young boys playing in the second half as did Melbourne and they didn’t have Cameron (Smith) and Billy (Slater) playing.

Mitchell (Pearce) and Connor (Watson) looked really good against Melbourne’s better side; they looked threatening and very sharp.

Nathan BrownHead Coach

“Defensively we certainly looked composed and competitive at times, but we’ve got a lot to work through because there was so many changes going on.”

Brown commented that the addition of experience in his forward pack will significantly help when games are tight.

He was pleased with their first hit-out as a squad and said they still have a lot of fire power that was left at home.

“We have Daniel (Saifiti) and Barney (Mitch Barnett) to come back in who have been two of our better younger players in the past couple of years,” Brown maintained.

“Hopefully they’ll add a lot to our pack, so it’ll be interesting to see what the starting pack will be.”

And, a switch for Sione Mata’utia from the forwards to the centres proved valuable.

“Sione was solid, he only had 40 minutes,” Brown said.

“While it was really hard to get a gauge on some things, defensively he looked comfortable, we all know he’s a good player and know he’ll go well there.”

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