Knights manager Adam O’Brien has admitted that he is done with the club’s 2022 campaign when he is the man to lead Newcastle forward.
The Knights have struggled this season with just 5 wins from 19 games, putting pressure on the men from the hunt to turn their fortunes around.
O’Brien’s future as the club’s head coach has been firmly in the spotlight, and now the 44-year-old admits he could have “six to eight weeks” at the start of the 2023 season to save his job.
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The Daily Telegraph’s Buzz Rothfield said on NRL360: “I spoke to Adam O’Brien this morning and he asked me, ‘How are the shooters looking from the outside?’
“I think everyone is happy that you’re safe for the rest of the year, I think you have six to eight weeks at the start of next year.
“Agreed, 100% agreed.”
But NRL360 co-host Paul Kent disagreed, questioning why the club would gamble on failing to meet expectations in 2022.
Meanwhile, Newcastle have signed Peter Parr as their director of football, taking over the Knights’ football operations.
Kent Parr believes he will not be willing to gamble at the start of next season as a strong start each year is crucial to making the top eight.
If that’s the case I’ll cut it short now, Peter Parr has just arrived at the club, why would Newcastle gamble early next year? Kent asked.
“If you’re going to play the first six or eight weeks of next year, then it’s all over.”
“What he’s saying is that this season is over, what he’s saying is that the patience and honesty he expects from the board will last six to eight weeks next year,” Rothfield said.
NRL360 host Bryce Anasta likened O’Brien’s situation to that of Titans coach Justin Holbrook.
Both decided to drop experienced halfbacks in Mitchell Pearce and Jamal Fogarty, and both are paying the price.
“The start of next year is everything for both coaches,” Anastas said.
The next six weeks will be everything.
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“The half team has taken Mitchell Pearce to the finals two years in a row and walked away,” Rothfield added.
Meanwhile, O’Brien has come under fire for the club’s lackluster performance against the Bulldogs, citing his role as assistant.
O’Brien worked successfully under Craig Bellamy at the Melbourne Storm, where he explained how to win premierships.
“I’ve been to four grand finals before I got this job,” O’Brien said.
“I know how those teams are set up. I know the systems used by the defense.
“You will not solve this knowledge. Implementing it and taking root will obviously take some time.
Kent refutes O’Brien’s claim by explaining that there is a big difference between watching someone else teach and implementing it in your own group.
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“If Adam O’Brien had the chance again, he would have kept quiet and said nothing,” Kent said.
“And what he said is irrelevant because if you’ve seen it, it doesn’t matter … you’ve got to be the head coach and make the decisions.
“There’s a big difference between being an assistant and being a head coach, knowing what it’s like doesn’t mean you can teach it.
“Everybody just sees what he’s doing, so we start training that.
We talked about this earlier in the year when Trent Barrett was trying to integrate Penrith’s attacking style into Canterbury.
“They’re two different playgroups and sometimes you can’t just sit down and teach a fifth grader four grades of math, you have to take stepping stones to get there.”