live Infotainment Factory: Irony behind Knights stars' 'disrespectful' Brown comments

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Monday, 26 August 2019

Irony behind Knights stars' 'disrespectful' Brown comments


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Cronulla Sharks veteran Paul Gallen has delivered an almighty reality check to Newcastle Knights stars Kalyn Ponga and Mitchell Pearce amid the sacking of coach Nathan Brown.

A tumultuous week for the Knights erupted in a 42-point drubbing at the hands of the Wests Tigers on Saturday night after it was announced the club had decided to part ways with Brown come season's end with finals football still on the line.

Amid the swathes of conjecture and finger-pointing surrounding the shock departure, the words of Newcastle's brightest star, Ponga, in which he revealed he wasn't sad to learn of Brown's departure because he was "having a nice strawberry thickshake" at the time, struck a nerve with the NRL community.

Teammate and NRL veteran Mitchell Pearce didn't do the situation any favours moments later when claimed that perhaps his mother could coach the team in Brown's absence.

Ponga, Brown and Pearce

It was an unbecoming precursor to an "embarrassing" showing later that night when they were thrashed by the Tigers 46-4 in a must-win game for the finals campaign, and Gallen didn't pull any punches on his colleagues.

"I thought it showed a total lack of respect for the coach to be honest with you," Gallen told Nine's 100% Footy. "I was really disappointed in some of the players' reaction to him being sacked.

"Kalyn Ponga is a kid, and I don't want to be too critical of Kalyn Ponga, he's an absolute super star and great for the game. But your reaction talking about a strawberry thick shake when your coach has just been sacked, I found it disrespectful.

"And Mitchell Pearce's wasn't much better. Both them guys. Kalyn Ponga was signed to a $700k ballpark contract after playing five first grade games by Nathan brown. And Mitchell Pearce was given, not a lifeline, but a pretty big contract to go up there with Nathan Brown as the coach.

"I thought the way they spoke was totally disrespectful to Nathan Brown and it reflected in the performance they put in on the weekend."

Knights despair

Newcastle icon Andrew Johns spoke strongly on the club's coaching dramas after the Tigers defeat, saying that the club had "sabotaged" their finals hopes in prematurely announcing Brown's departure. Recruitment boss Troy Pezet, chief executive Phil Gardner and top agent Isaac Moses all copped scrutiny for their role in Brown's exit.

But NRL guru Phil Gould took aim at the playing group for failing to turn up for their fans on the weekend with their finals' hopes still well and truly alive.

"What sort of lack of pride did they have in their own professional performance to go out there and perform like that when that jersey is still in contention for a top eight," he told Nine's 100% Footy.

"And there's fans that travel form Newcastle to follow them, they just put themselves first players. They really do. They don't think about the game, the fans, the teammates or the club. It's disgraceful it really is."

Gould also launched an impassioned defence of Brown who he believes has bitten his tongue for the benefit and posterity of the club moving forward.

Ponga's Brown comment 'terrible, disrespectful'

"What you've got to understand about Nathan is that he's such a good bloke, he'll say the right thing, even if that's not what he really feels," He said.

"He's very honest, but he'll say the right thing on behalf of the club. He's always a club first, team first sort of person. He puts others before himself. Sometime that is to his detriment. And I think the real story behind all this is far more heartbreaking than that, and for more painful for him. He'll just move on for the sake of the club.

"The fact that he's like that is why he's been able to do such a marvellous job at the Newcastle Knights. When he went there they were in a terrible situation, salary cap in a terrible situation, roster and culture terrible. And he put all of that before him. I think coaches go into club very selfish. All they want to do is get the players for them, to protect their job and earn their wage and win themselves a title.

"Nathan Brown put the club and the future of the club before him. He knew that he was building a club that probably one day he wouldn't be there to coach, it would be up for someone else. That's how it's turned out.

"He made some decisions based on culture and personality and character rather on keeping blokes that could have won him a few more games and made him look better. It's sad that its ended like this. But I think as the weeks unfold the real story behind this will start to emerge."

Cronulla Sharks veteran Paul Gallen has delivered an almighty reality check to Newcastle Knights stars Kalyn Ponga and Mitchell Pearce amid the sacking of coach Nathan Brown.

A tumultuous week for the Knights erupted in a 42-point drubbing at the hands of the Wests Tigers on Saturday night after it was announced the club had decided to part ways with Brown come season's end with finals football still on the line.

Amid the swathes of conjecture and finger-pointing surrounding the shock departure, the words of Newcastle's brightest star, Ponga, in which he revealed he wasn't sad to learn of Brown's departure because he was "having a nice strawberry thickshake" at the time, struck a nerve with the NRL community.

Teammate and NRL veteran Mitchell Pearce didn't do the situation any favours moments later when claimed that perhaps his mother could coach the team in Brown's absence.

Ponga, Brown and Pearce

It was an unbecoming precursor to an "embarrassing" showing later that night when they were thrashed by the Tigers 46-4 in a must-win game for the finals campaign, and Gallen didn't pull any punches on his colleagues.

"I thought it showed a total lack of respect for the coach to be honest with you," Gallen told Nine's 100% Footy. "I was really disappointed in some of the players' reaction to him being sacked.

"Kalyn Ponga is a kid, and I don't want to be too critical of Kalyn Ponga, he's an absolute super star and great for the game. But your reaction talking about a strawberry thick shake when your coach has just been sacked, I found it disrespectful.

"And Mitchell Pearce's wasn't much better. Both them guys. Kalyn Ponga was signed to a $700k ballpark contract after playing five first grade games by Nathan brown. And Mitchell Pearce was given, not a lifeline, but a pretty big contract to go up there with Nathan Brown as the coach.

"I thought the way they spoke was totally disrespectful to Nathan Brown and it reflected in the performance they put in on the weekend."

Knights despair

Newcastle icon Andrew Johns spoke strongly on the club's coaching dramas after the Tigers defeat, saying that the club had "sabotaged" their finals hopes in prematurely announcing Brown's departure. Recruitment boss Troy Pezet, chief executive Phil Gardner and top agent Isaac Moses all copped scrutiny for their role in Brown's exit.

But NRL guru Phil Gould took aim at the playing group for failing to turn up for their fans on the weekend with their finals' hopes still well and truly alive.

"What sort of lack of pride did they have in their own professional performance to go out there and perform like that when that jersey is still in contention for a top eight," he told Nine's 100% Footy.

"And there's fans that travel form Newcastle to follow them, they just put themselves first players. They really do. They don't think about the game, the fans, the teammates or the club. It's disgraceful it really is."

Gould also launched an impassioned defence of Brown who he believes has bitten his tongue for the benefit and posterity of the club moving forward.

Ponga's Brown comment 'terrible, disrespectful'

"What you've got to understand about Nathan is that he's such a good bloke, he'll say the right thing, even if that's not what he really feels," He said.

"He's very honest, but he'll say the right thing on behalf of the club. He's always a club first, team first sort of person. He puts others before himself. Sometime that is to his detriment. And I think the real story behind all this is far more heartbreaking than that, and for more painful for him. He'll just move on for the sake of the club.

"The fact that he's like that is why he's been able to do such a marvellous job at the Newcastle Knights. When he went there they were in a terrible situation, salary cap in a terrible situation, roster and culture terrible. And he put all of that before him. I think coaches go into club very selfish. All they want to do is get the players for them, to protect their job and earn their wage and win themselves a title.

"Nathan Brown put the club and the future of the club before him. He knew that he was building a club that probably one day he wouldn't be there to coach, it would be up for someone else. That's how it's turned out.

"He made some decisions based on culture and personality and character rather on keeping blokes that could have won him a few more games and made him look better. It's sad that its ended like this. But I think as the weeks unfold the real story behind this will start to emerge."

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