Newcastle coach Nathan Brown admits he has no idea if it is a good or bad time to be taking onManly at Lottoland on Friday night.
The Eagles have lost four or their last five games including three straight and have been embroiled incontroversy following the well-publicised spatbetween skipper Daly Cherry-Evans and Jackson Hastings and the fall-out from the side’s trip to Gladstone that has resulted in several players being fined.
Where that leaves their head-space remains to be seen but Newcastle’s abysmalrecord of just two wins at Lottoland in 18 appearances and the loss of their key playmaker in Mitchell Pearce to injury doesn’t leave the Knights room for any complacency.
“I’m not real sure what is really happening there,” Brown said.
“It isnot my concern what is happening at Manly. I’m focused on what’s happening here.”
But questioned about whether his side should be wary of the wounded Sea Eagles, Brown said:
“It was only a week ago we saw Parramatta in the sheds after a game and they were a club that was devastated and then on the weekend, they come out and play so well.
“Clubs who have good players, it is only a matter of time before they play well again.
“When you look at Manly and see the two Trbojevics [Jack and Tom], [Marty] Taupau, [Apisai] Koroisau, [Daly] Cherry-Evans, [Dylan] Walker –they’re high quality players and when they play well, I think they play the game as well as anyone.
“Manly’s attack over the past 18 months at different stages has been dynamite and they showed it early in the year when they did beat Parramatta by 48.
“Those guys playing really well all together is a tough proposition for any team which is why we’ll go into the game as big underdogs with Mitchell [Pearce] gone and us going with younger halves.
“All we canpreparefor is Manly at their best and if they don’t bring their best, that would be great for us but it is going to come sooner or later.
“There is invariably always a great performance around the corner when these things happen.”
Controversy: Manly’s Jackson Hastings and Daly Cherry-Evans in happier times at Lottoland.