Knights chief throws support behind Adam O’Brien despite Newcastle’s WOEFUL start to the season – and insists he wants under-fire coach to stay at the club for the next 10 YEARS
- Newcastle coach Adam O’Brien is facing eight straight loses at the club
- Knights CEO Philip Gardner says O’Brien is the right man to bring club success
- The re-signing of Ponga and return of Adam Clune is a boost for the side
- Gardner claims he wants O’Brien at the helm for the forthcoming 10 years
Knights coach Adam O’Brien has led his team to the worst record in the NRL over the last three rounds – but the club are adamant he’s the right man for the job and want him to lead them for the next 10 years.
The former Roosters assistant moved to the Knights in 2020 and led the club to their first finals appearance since 2013 in his maiden season.
Newcastle CEO Philip Gardner said O’Brien’s job security hasn’t changed in light of the clubs recent form, with his current contract expiring in 2024.
Adam O’Brien has received the full weight of support from Newcastle Knights’ hierarchy
The Knights have endured a torrid start to the season and are the worst team in the comp
‘There’s no doubt in our mind that Adam O’Brien is the right coach for us,’ Gardner told the Sydney Morning Herald.
‘I see his work ethic, how hard he works and his relationship with the players is very good.
‘We hope that Adam is with us for the next 10 years.’
O’Brien’s move up the coast of New South Wales opened after Nathan Brown was axed from his performance-based contract for failing to get Newcastle to the final eight.
The 44-year-old leads a strong coaching lineup, with former Newcastle greats Danny Buderus and Andrew Johns joining the ranks.
Gardner believes the club’s management is as good as any setup in the NRL, even the Melbourne Storm.
Kalyn Ponga has put pen to paper on a new five-year deal in a boost for the Newcastle club
Newcastle showed promise at the start of the 2022 NRL season, toweling up the Roosters 20-6 in a dominant performance that was backed up by a 26-4 win over the Tigers in round two.
Since then, captain Ponga contract rumours have plagued the club with injuries to Newcastle’s spine forcing lineup switches.
Before Ponga inked a new five-year, $1 million a season deal back in April, it was reported the star fullback would boycott the Knights and head north to the Dolphins.
Gardner said Ponga’s mental toughness throughout the media circus proved his worthiness as captain.
O’Brien made the step up from assistant coach to head coach after a spell at the Roosters, and Philip Gardner claims he wants the boss around for the next 10 years
O’Brien’s coaching experience dates back to his assistant roles with the Melbourne Storm and Sydney Roosters, where he spent 11 years under Craig Bellamy and ventured to the tricolours in their 2019 premiership winning season.
The Knights defensive form has proved a chink in O’Brien’s start to the 2022 season, leaking 146 points in the past four rounds.
Newcastle’s Friday night Magic Round clash against the Bulldogs must demonstrate an improved showing, given the renewed signing of Kalyn Ponga and the return of experienced half Adam Clune.