Newcastle Knights officials are backing coach Nathan Brown for the long haul.

BACKED: Nathan Brown.
BACKED: Nathan Brown.

KNIGHTS officials have no intention of emulating their counterparts at the Newcastle Jets and sacking coach Nathan Brown.

SACKED: Mark Jones

SACKED: Mark Jones

The Jets terminated the contract of Mark Jones on Sunday, one season into a two-year deal, after a club-record six-game losing streak that left Newcastle with the wooden spoon.

His exit, after winning five of 27 games, leaves Jets owner Martin Lee searching for his third coach in the space of seven months.

In contrast, the Knights have vowed to show faith in Brown, whose first 31 games at the helm of the Knights have produced just two wins.

Knights chairman Brian McGuigan told the Newcastle Herald the club was “not going to do anything rash”, insisting Brown was the right man to oversee the rebuilding operation.

“We’ve got to show stability, and not chop and change,’’ McGuigan said. “There’s nothing worse for people’s confidence, and for the players and their families, than to feel insecurity because the club is disorganised.

“We’ve had to come back, as a club, from a hellish spot and rebuild the whole thing.

“It’s still going to take us another couple of years to get it the way that we want it.

“But it starts at the top, and we believe this man [Brown] can take us back to our old, glorious days.

“Together with our football manager, Darren Mooney, they are working so hard and we have every confidence that they will get us back to where we want to be.’’ 

After back-to-back wooden spoons in 2015 and 2016, the Knights again occupy last rung on the ladder, a situation McGuigan described as “embarrassing”.

Newcastle have lost six of their seven games this season, including five in a row, but have been competitive in all but one of those clashes.

McGuigan said Brown’s team had made “vast improvement” this season.

“I’m still embarrassed about it, especially for the fans, but our standard of play has improved immeasurably,’’ McGuigan said.

“I think the community, generally, is saying that we have only just missed out in a number of games by a few points, which was not the case 12 months ago.

“So we welcome that progress, and we’ve also been trying to sign some players who, God willing, can help strengthen the team. 

“We just missed out on Jack Bird last week, but we also have to work within financial constraints.

“If we can sign a couple of key players who can provide leadership on the field, I’m sure that will make the team even more competitive.”

Brown is contracted until the end of 2018, having signed a three-year deal.

McGuigan said the prospect of extending that deal “hasn’t even been discussed”, but the board of directors feel “a sense of responsibility” to stabilise the club, on and off the field. 

“It’s important to have stability,’’ he said.

“We’ve stabilised our finances, and I think we’ve stabilised our performances on the field. It’s not fully fixed yet, but we’re gradually getting there.’’

McGuigan said the 21,412 spectators who attended Friday’s 24-6 loss to the Roosters at McDonald Jones Stadium were evidence that fans were encouraged by Newcastle’s performances this season.

“Novocastrians are fantastic,’’ McGuigan said. “The loyalty they have towards their team is just extraordinary.’’


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