Another week and another Newcastle thrashing but Danny Buderus says the green shoots of success are there if you look hard enough.
The Knights were humbled in Buderus’ first outing as interim coach on Sunday but he says there is a silver lining to the dark clouds hanging over the Hunter.
Their 46-24 NRL loss to St George Illawarra was their 13th in 15 matches and the seventh straight week they have conceded 30-plus points.
In 15th spot with just six wins, Knights fans have had little cause for cheer this year but Buderus said there was enough young raw talent for any coach to work with.
Buderus has ruled out taking on the job full time next year with Nathan Brown, Shane and Ben Walker, Garth Brennan, Mick Potter and Geoff Toovey the leading contenders.
He handed NRL debuts to Lachlan Fitzgibbon and Nathan Ross against the Dragons and said the talent of the likes of Jake Mamo and Joseph Tapine boded well for the future.
The Knights scored four unanswered tries in the back end of the first half but were unable to stay with the Dragons for a full 80 minutes.
Buderus said he saw enough in their performance to give him hope not just for the final five rounds, but the next several years.
“Some of these guys will be starting to hit their straps (in the next few years),” Buderus said.
“Jakey Mamo is going to back himself all the time. Joe Tapine needs to work hard in pushing his body. All these guys, Nathan Ross did really well on his debut. Lachie Fitzgibbon worked out what it’s like to play in the top grade.
“So my job is to keep believing in these guys and give them a run in first grade, and that’s all we pretty much have at the moment.”
Skipper Kurt Gidley, who will depart the club at the end of the season for English club Warrington, said some players weren’t yet mentally up to first grade.
“The biggest thing about being a first grader is the mental game,” Gidley said.
“We’re all physically fit and strong but it’s the mental battle that the experienced players – it’s why they have played so many games – can push themselves past what their limits are.
“Because they know they’ll win it back and they don’t want to let their teammates down.
“That’s the biggest learning curve for our team and our club. As a young guy, being able to push yourself mentally past what you think you can go.”