Pressured Knights coach Adam O’Brien is reportedly close to losing the support of his squad after a season to forget in the NRL.
Tensions reached a boiling point after a recent defeat, and O’Brien is said to have told his underperforming stars in the sheds: ‘I know what you say about me. I’m going nowhere.’
Newcastle have been terrible this year, with just five wins.
Their performances on home soil in particular have infuriated their loyal fans, and O’Brien knows he has to turn things around quickly or he’ll be shown the door.
The coach was in damage control mode following Sunday’s defeat to the Bulldogs, and his bizarre statement that he was part of four premierships – as an assistant coach – with the Storm and Roosters before taking over the Knights in 2020 helped his case not.
Knights coach Adam O’Brien reportedly close to losing playgroup support after testing season in the NRL
Leaving the team sheet’s prop David Klemmer to face the Tigers this weekend after verbally abusing Knights coach Hayden Knowles and refusing to leave the field last Sunday has caused further problems internally
A loss to the resurgent Wests Tigers at Campbelltown Sports Stadium this weekend will only put more pressure on O’Brien and the Knights.
The failure of veteran David Klemmer after he verbally abused Knights coach Hayden Knowles and refused to leave the field last Sunday has created further problems.
It is clear that the players support Klemmer, who was cautioned to explain his behavior on the pitch.
The gag allegedly called Knowles a “c***” and told him to “shut up,” according to the Daily Telegram.
The publication also reported that a senior Newcastle employee had a text conversation about Klemmer with a player and signed with ‘FEC’, which stands for ‘F*** Every C***’.
It is clear that the Knights players support Klemmer, who was given a notice about the cause of the show to explain his behavior on the pitch with Knowles.
O’Brien’s bizarre statement that he was part of four premierships – as an assistant coach – with the Storm and Roosters before taking over the Knights in 2020 shows that he is a man who feels the pressure
Earlier this week, there were reports that the club had rejected Klemmer’s request to move to Parramatta before the August 1 deadline.
If the club fires Klemmer, it will of course be motivated by money.
The front rower has a deal worth at least $800,000 a year until the end of 2023 and if he leaves the Hunter, the salary cap will free up space for Newcastle to hunt out-of-contract stars.
After finishing in the top eight for the past two seasons, Newcastle fans felt good times were ahead in 2022, especially after impressive early wins over the Sydney Roosters and West Tigers.
The Knights then fell off a cliff and lost seven consecutive matches leads to Magic Round in Brisbane.
O’Brien’s men have leaked 522 points averaging 27.47 points per game.
They also have the worst difference in the league, minus 238 points.
O’Brien is under contract until the end of 2024 and the decision not to replace Mitchell Pearce with a pistol halfback has come back to bite the club, with Jake Clifford and Adam Clune both failing to perform as playmakers.
If the Knights – and O’Brien – don’t find a solution soon, he will suffer the same fate as Trent Barrett (Bulldogs) and Michael Maguire (Tigers).