NATHAN ROSS: Knights fullback reflects on the 2017 campaign

HIGHLIGHT: Newcastle Knights rookie five-eighth Brock Lamb scoring next to the posts in an upset win over the Parramatta Eels - it doesn't get much better than that in 2017. Picture: AAP Image
HIGHLIGHT: Newcastle Knights rookie five-eighth Brock Lamb scoring next to the posts in an upset win over the Parramatta Eels - it doesn't get much better than that in 2017. Picture: AAP Image

This has been one of my most enjoyable seasons of football.

Despite the Knights again finishing last and a trifecta of post-season surgeries, for me it’s right up there.

Take the round 23 upset away against the top-four bound Parramatta as a case in point. 

Undoubtedly a highlight for many Newcastle fans – unexpected result against an in-form opponent, three wins on the trot for the first time in 867 days and a genuine show of improvement from the players themselves.    

I actually watched that game from the sidelines having injured my back beating the Warriors at home a week earlier.

But as much as I wanted to be out there in the middle against the Eels, it well and truly opened my eyes and gave me a fresh perspective on our squad.

It was then I both understood and appreciated how far we had actually come as a group in a relatively short period of time.

This performance revealed what the boys in red and blue are capable of.

The 29-10 scoreline was merely a reflection of how hard we had been fighting.

Not only in that particular 80 minutes but for the entire campaign and while admittedly we weren’t able to close out a few other tight fixtures when in front, this one fell our way.

It felt like we were learning our lessons.

The self-belief had never wavered. At no point in time, or during any match, did anyone in the dressing sheds feel that we couldn’t win.

Now the difference was putting it all into practice between the sidelines.

Much credit for this gradual shake up at the club should go to Nathan Brown, Kurt Wrigley, Mick Potter, Simon Woolford and all the Knights extended coaching staff.   

Their patience, dedication and vision helped fuel a few of my other highlights for 2017.

Brock Lamb’s bounce back from adversity. Other playmakers his age (remembering he could still play under 20s) might have chucked in the towel after such a publicised mistake but he took it all in his stride.  

The touch of Trent Hodkinson – on the field when he returned to first grade and off the field with his unbelievable charity work.

The rise and rise of Daniel Saifiti as well as the back end of Lachlan Fitzgibbon’s season.

They’re all little things, but there’s a real sense that if we stick at it we’re going places.

Enjoy Sunday’s grand final and catch you all back on the park in 2018!

This has been one of my most enjoyable seasons of football."