It is the recession, or rather the season of abject disappointment, that Newcastle had to have, according to coach Nathan Brown.
The Knights terrible year continued on Sunday after they slumped to a club record-equalling 13th successive loss to Manly, 36-16 at Brookvale Oval.
After the match Brown admitted the wooden spoon had been destined for Newcastle for much of the season and pleaded with fans not to criticise the current crop of players for the Knights’ run of outs.
“It’s not fair for people to blame the players for what has happened,” Brown said.
“We are at the end of a recession after hitting rock bottom.
“It is harder this year than when the club started in 1988. They had more mature players playing, not young kids.
“We are where we had to go with the club moving forward, we just need to add some experienced players.”
Newcastle were without Jarrod Mullen, Robbie Rochow and Sione Mata’utia for the round 21 match with the Sea Eagles.
Brown admitted his young players were struggling with the situation.
“I said to (captain) Trent Hodkinson, Jack Cogger, he must think first grade is a horrible place,” Brown said.
After showing some improvement in recent weeks in losses to Canberra and Melbourne, the Knights have fallen into bad habits against Cronulla and Manly.
But Brown said there was some hope for the future.
“I just know so many of those young players are going to be good,” he said.
“Four years ago Canberra were in the same boat. There is no way for us as a club to get better than by going through what we are now.
“I do feel sorry for the supporters. But I don’t think the players deserve to be held accountable.”