Inside Running with Nathan Ross

IT’S been a long time coming, but hopefully Newcastle Knights fans are walking around this week with a spring in their step.

Our breakthrough win against the Titans on Saturday was without doubt the most emotional I’ve been involved in.

There was the immediate rush of elation upon realising we’d broken our losing streak, mixed with relief, satisfaction, camaraderie and pride.

And when we looked around the crowd at our fans cheering and celebrating, it made me feel very grateful, and very humble. 

We’ve had a disappointing couple of seasons, but nobody can question the loyalty of Newcastle supporters. Last year, despite everything that happened, we still averaged crowds of 14,457 at our home games.

PASSION: Knights fans celebrate last Saturday's long-awaited win against Gold Coast at McDonald Jones Stadium. Picture: Getty Images

PASSION: Knights fans celebrate last Saturday's long-awaited win against Gold Coast at McDonald Jones Stadium. Picture: Getty Images

On Saturday, 12,869 spectators turned out, including 17 club legends who presented our jerseys before the game, reminding exactly what was at stake and who we were representing.

When it was tough in the second half, and the game was hanging in the balance, the famous “New-cas-tle” chant gave us the energy to find another gear.

Having broken the drought, we owe it to ourselves – and the fans – to make sure our next win comes around sooner rather than later. We’ll be aiming to go back-to-back in Saturday’s clash with South Sydney at McDonald Jones Stadium.

Last season we had so many young guys in their first season, so many team changes each week, that there were wins we let slip through our fingers. In those games, maybe we were guilty at times of thinking at least we were competitive and the scoreline was close.

Our collective attitude has come a long way since then. We don’t just want to compete, we’re playing to win.

When we lost their season-opener against the Warriors 26-22, we were filthy on ourselves for conceding a try in the 75th minute.

On Saturday against the Titans, after 75 minutes, the score was exactly the same – 26-22 to the opposition.

This time, however, we weren’t about to make the same mistakes twice.

We completed a set on the Titans’ line and, when we got the ball back, the energy from the crowd lifted us. A nice inside pass from Trent Hodkinson found a determined Peter Mata’utia, and suddenly we were back in the lead. 

Then I was lucky enough to scoot over for a try I will never forget and the game was ours.

The great thing is that we have so much room for improvement. We played some good footy against the Titans, but I still reckon we had a 20-minute period where we strayed from the game plan.

We’ll learn from that and be better this week.

Hopefully by 6.30pm Saturday, Knights fans will again be heading home with smiles on their faces. We’ll be doing our best to make you proud.


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