Brown admits errors in Knights' rapid fall

Matt Encarnacion
Coach Nathan Brown admits his decisions contributed to Newcastle's season going pear-shaped

Newcastle coach Nathan Brown has shouldered part of the blame for his team's dramatic collapse that has all but ended their shot at an overdue finals return.

Flying high in fourth spot in May, the Knights have since dropped seven of their past nine matches to tumble all the way to 12th with a month left in the NRL season.

While they remain three points adrift of eighth-placed Brisbane, the Knights are now relying on results to go their way to go close to sneaking in to September football.

It's been a rapid fall - and Brown has already figured out where it all went wrong.

He recalled how his team had their six-game winning streak snapped by Melbourne, and bounced back the following week against Brisbane.

But then came a heartbreaking loss to the Warriors without State of Origin stars Mitchell Pearce, David Klemmer, Daniel Saifiti and Tim Glasby.

Star fullback Kalyn Ponga and winger Edrick Lee were out with injury, while second-rower Mitchell Barnett was suspended.

"I believe I got it wrong coming into Canterbury playing the Origin players," Brown said on Fox Sports' NRL360 on Monday night.

"I let the scoreboard against the Warriors influence the decision I made to back up all our players. I think that had a bad impact on us for a couple of weeks.

"So I've got to put my hand up."

Brown also reluctantly offered a second reason for the Knights' fade-out, saying how he erred in failing to act quickly on a matter involving playing standards.

It was only two weeks ago that the club effectively parted ways with centre Jesse Ramien by allowing him to negotiate with rival clubs.

Ramien has stopped training with the club, and remains on the lookout for a new home with a number of clubs interested in throwing him a lifeline.

"Another decision I made, which I shouldn't say publicly, but there was one other thing I badly got wrong myself," Brown said.

"So I have to put a fair bit of blame on myself there."

Pressed on whether it involved selecting a player based on effort, Brown said: "What I would say is I certainly accepted some standards that I shouldn't have.

"And I should have addressed it earlier in the piece."