Nathan Brown is feeling the heat. Picture: Getty Images
Nathan Brown is feeling the heat. Picture: Getty Images

Brown faces chop if Knights fortunes don’t change

CHECK out the highlights, lowlights and talking points from another memorable weekend in sport.

HIGHLIGHT

There's nothing like watching great fullbacks carve up their opposition. The performances of Tom 'Turbo' Trbojevic for Manly and James Tedesco for the Roosters were outstanding.

James Tedesco was superb for the Roosters against Parramatta. Picture: AAP
James Tedesco was superb for the Roosters against Parramatta. Picture: AAP

HIGHLIGHT II

Watching Paul Gallen's dad Garry thump the esky in the Sharks' sheds as the players sang Up Up Cronulla and celebrated victory in their skipper's record-breaking 329th appearance.

LOWLIGHT

The Panthers' loss to Melbourne Storm in Bathurst and the very ordinary performances from two of their highest-paid players, Nathan Cleary and Reagan Campbell-Gillard. They should also move Dallin Watene-Zelezniak straight back to fullback.

LOWLIGHT II

A pathetic performance from the New Zealand Warriors against the Manly Sea Eagles on Saturday. At this rate they will be flat out avoiding the wooden spoon, as predicted by your columnist at the start of the season.

The Warriors copped a hammering against the Sea Eagles.
The Warriors copped a hammering against the Sea Eagles.

SPOTTED

Sydney Roosters forward Angus Crichton refuelling at McDonald's on Parramatta Rd after Friday night's win over the Parramatta Eels at ANZ Stadium.

SPOTTED II

Ivan Cleary and his family walking around the Mount Panorama racetrack on Saturday before the match against Melbourne in Bathurst.

SPOTTED III

Dragons fullback Matt Dufty honing his sidestepping skills between tables on the punt with his mates and talking to fans at a packed Oatley Hotel on Saturday.

DRAGON'S SPECIAL DELIVERY

The only difference between the Broncos and St George Illawarra in the final few minutes of Thursday night's thriller at Suncorp Stadium was the dummy-halves.

The pass from Broncos hooker Andrew McCullough to Jamayne Isaako for their field goal attempt with a couple of minutes to go was a poor one. It landed at his ankles.

At the other end of the field, Dragons hooker Cameron McInnes pushed Ben Hunt out of the way to get to dummy-half for the final play.

His pass to Corey Norman for the match-winning field goal was a beauty. And that was the ball game.

PRESSURE BUILDS ON BROWN

Nathan Brown is feeling the heat. Picture: Getty Images
Nathan Brown is feeling the heat. Picture: Getty Images

Time is fast running out for Newcastle Knights coach Nathan Brown.

He has a month to turn around his struggling team or face the chop.

The only thing working in his favour is a softish draw in the next three weeks against St George Illawarra, Manly and the Gold Coast. There are no more excuses.

This Knights have enough individual talent to be playing finals football. It's up to the coach to make it happen.

Brown needs to regain ownership of a team that appears too heavily influenced by the players.

The move to play Kalyn Ponga at five-eighth has been a disaster.

It's easy to say in hindsight but he should never have been moved from fullback in the first place.

WIDDOP'S FUTURE BLEAK

There is a professor of orthopaedic surgery I regularly speak to about rugby league injuries on the condition of anonymity.

This guy is a former NRL club doctor and 99.9 per cent spot on with his assessments when I ring to get background on various injuries.

On Friday morning we spoke about the future of St ­George Illawarra star Gareth Widdop.

The professor was as shocked as everyone else that Widdop had again injured his shoulder from such a minor incident in the game against the Broncos.

Widdop is suffering from multidirectional instability of the shoulder, a condition with which you can live a normal life but not play the toughest contact sport on the planet.