They’ve conceded 179 points in four games, but Newcastle legend Andrew Johns is warning things are going to get even worse before they get better at the Knights.
Sunday’s 62-0 loss at the hands of Cronulla was also their worst home defeat in the club’s 29-year NRL history, and marked the third time they had been held scoreless within a month.
But the club’s greatest player, who couldn’t even bear to watch the second half on Sunday, says more dark times are ahead for Newcastle fans.
“I don’t think they’ve hit rock bottom yet,” Johns told the Triple M Rush Hour.
“I don’t know when it’s going to turn. This may take five years, it may take 10 years.”
Newcastle used six players still eligible for the under-20s competition in the loss, while 18-year-old halfback Jack Cogger became the 10th player to make his NRL debut for the club this season.
In partnering with 19-year-old five-eighth Brock Lamb, who debuted in the previous round against the Roosters, the pair also made for the youngest halves combination in the history of the club.
But Johns, who debuted at 18 and went on to play 249 games for the club, said he wasn’t sure exposing players to that kind of defeat at such a young age would be beneficial to their development.
“You’ve got to be careful it doesn’t scar them for life,” he said on Monday.
“It’s just a really tough time up there.”
Johns’ comments come after coach Nathan Brown said earlier on Monday he expected these kinds of struggles when he accepted the job.
“I knew our situation with the salary cap,” he said.
“I knew where the squad was at and I basically knew once we picked up a lot of injuries to senior players we would be exposing younger blokes.”