Newcastle coach Nathan Brown fixing Knights’ poor defensive culture
December 7, 2015 12:36pm
Nathan RyanFOX SPORTS
NEWCASTLE coach Nathan Brown has wasted little time putting his stamp on the club with his first priority — eliminating the Knights’ “bad habits” when it comes to defence.
Looking to introduce a strong defensive culture, placing a renewed emphasis on the importance of sticking to their basic principles, the club has been working overtime ahead of season 2016.
The Knights leaked 612 points in 2015, the second worst in the competition behind only the Gold Coast, to claim the dreaded wooden spoon.
According to exciting young backrower Robbie Rochow, the Knights have already spent a lot of time reviewing their tackling technique in a bid to fix their mistakes.
“He’s show us the proper way to defend,” Rochow said of Brown.
“We haven’t done too much under pressure or fatigue — (Brown’s) just shown us the right way to defend. Edge verses edge sort of stuff.
“We’ve done a lot of video on it and hopefully fixing up some bad habits we’ve got.
“Since I’ve been here we’ve had periods where we’d defend well but we’ve never really had a strong defensive culture.
“Hopefully we can get these basics right and doing it consistently and under fatigue we’ll see some benefits next year.”
Since returning to his junior club in 2012 after a brief stint with Melbourne where he made his NRL debut in 2010, Rochow is in his fifth pre-season with the Knights.
Having previously been coached by Wayne Bennett, Rick Stone and now Brown during such a short period, Rochow said Brown has changed the way things were usually done.
“Focusing on a lot smaller areas of our defence,” he said.
“Making sure we get the basics and were still building into it.
“The kind of weights we are doing is a lot different. It’s hard but we’re still building into it.
“It’s a good change and refreshing.
“It’s a completely different group. We have a lot of young players now and it’s been enjoyable to work with them.”
Since being appointed as the club’s new head coach, replacing Stone, Brown has wasted little time shaking up the club and stamping his authority on the struggling club.
While the cosmetic changes are obvious — like new players and fresh faces in the football department — Brown is already having an impact on the players themselves.
Rochow is only 25, yet admits he felt like he was plateauing when it came to his training last year.
However the Maitland product claims that under Brown’s new strength and conditioning co-ordinator Mark Andrews, his body is already benefiting from the change.
“Because I’ve been here for a few years under the same system with the way that we did weights and conditioning, I think I was plateauing a bit last year,” Rochow admits.
“At the moment it’s challenging and a lot different. I’m really enjoying it because I can see a lot of benefits.
“I want to get a bit more powerful and fitter.”