Sunday, 13 May 2012
Newcastle fans had better learn to be patient, with coach Wayne Bennett warning a turnaround in form for the NRL club could be some way off.
"I came here for four years - I didn't think this was going to be a quick fix and I'm not looking for a quick fix," Bennett said moments after his side's 32-12 loss to North Queensland on Saturday night.
"If I was looking for a quick fix I'd do things differently.
"I know where I'm going, I know what I've got to do - I've just got to get everyone behind me and they're working hard to do that."
It would take a brave soul
to doubt the most successful coach in NRL history, but the Knights look a long way short of the title contending side many critics thought they would be when Bennett arrived at the club with a few high profile recruits in tow.
The loss of experienced duo Kurt Gidley and Danny Buderus to injury hasn't helped the Knights cause, but even the defensive structures Bennett had put in place seemed to go out the window against the Cowboys.
Asked about the possibility of his side regrouping to make the finals, Bennett said:
"It's not our priority right now - our priority is to play some consistent, disciplined football that's going to give us a chance of being in the finals.
"Tonight was a move forward though from where we've been, a little bit."
The Cowboys too face a testing period, with the club set to be ravaged by State of Origin commitments over the coming weeks.
But with the likes of Ray Thompson, Matt Bowen and Aaron Payne stepping up against the Knights, coach Neil Henry was hopeful of emerging from the representative season relatively unscathed.
"That's important that we're able to cope when players aren't there and I think the depth of the club is like that this year where players can step in," Henry said.
Added co-captain Johnathan Thurston, who was brilliant against the Knights:
"No doubt it's going to be a testing time for us over the next six weeks, we're going to lose a few (players).
"But we've got some great depth there ... I've got all the confidence in the world that the boys will do the job when we're not there."