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Opinion

Newcastle Knights need rookie coach to deliver

01 Mar 20, 10:05AM 0 Comments

Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk

Photo by Getty Images

Adam O’Brien has been handed the reigns at the underperforming Newcastle Knights for the 2020 NRL season, with the rookie coach being under a fair amount of pressure to make an instant impact.

The Goulburn native has certainly learnt from some of the best in the game. He served as super coach Craig Bellamy’s assistant at the Melbourne Storm from 2013 to 2018, before making the move to the Sydney Roosters in 2019. There he worked under three time premiership-winning coach Trent Robinson,  thus giving fans a lot more confidence in his ability than they would usually have for a rookie coach.

Although the Knights haven’t lived up to the hype as yet, he also has the upside of inheriting quite a decent side with plenty of representative stars.

Mitchell Pearce has remained Newcastle’s best player since joining the club in 2018 and it’s now O’Brien’s job to ensure key players such as Kalyn Ponga and David Klemmer rise to his level on a consistent basis.

In recent years new NRL coaches have not exactly made the best transition to the big time tho, with Garth Brennan who joined the Titans in 2018 being released halfway through 2019, and Dean Pay still yet to make any real impact at the Bulldogs since taking over from Des Hasler.

Only time will tell as to whether Adam O’Brien will have an immediate effect at the Knights, but he’s done a great apprenticeship prior to landing the role and can hopefully turn the club around and deliver the fans something to cheer about.

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