Newcastle manager Adam O’Brien struggled to contain his emotions after the Knights missed a regulation try on Friday night.
Newcastle Knights manager Adam O’Brien struggled to contain his emotions when striker Leo Thompson missed a regulation try in Friday night’s clash with the Canterbury Bulldogs in Brisbane.
Magic Round kicked off with a disappointing contest between the two struggling clubs, with the second half riddled with unforced errors and sloppy combos – in part due to wet conditions at Suncorp Stadium.
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But O’Brien’s frustration boiled over in the second half, storming out of the viewing box after an agonizing 62nd-minute missed try.
The Knights were leading 10-6 when halfback Phoenix Crossland picked up the foot off the back of a ruck from 10 yards out and sprinted into defensive space.
Bulldogs fullback Matt Dufty tackled the 21-year-old, who deftly unloaded the Steeden towards teammate Thompson, positioned just in front of the posts with no defenders in his way.
But to the frustration of Knights fans across the country, Thompson dropped the footy and missed what should have been his first NRL try – O’Brien immediately rose from his chair and walked out of the coach box.
“Leo, you missed your chance,” shouted Fox League commentator Andrew Voss.
“Adam O’Brien went…he did a disappearing lap, he disappeared out the back.”
Queensland great Corey Parker continued: “He’s had enough, he’s out of the box.
“He deserves a Thompson try, he was great in the second half.
“All he had to do was stick with it.”
Voss replied, “It’s white line fever, folks.
“He could have fallen.”
Luckily for O’Brien, Newcastle half-back Adam Clune dived in the 75th minute to secure the win and snap a seven-game losing streak.
“We had to win,” O’Brien told reporters at the postgame press conference.
“What it looked like, in terms of attack, didn’t matter. I just wanted to see that defensive determination that we showed.
“With our supporters… they may be disappointed with us but they don’t leave us. I hope we made some of them happier tonight.
The Knights only missed two tackles in the first half, showing their commitment and the fact that the Bulldogs threw little to them.
Canterbury had no offload in the opening stanza, not even from the offloading king of the competition, Tevita Pangai Junior. They were playing it safe, like a team short on confidence and victories.
Matt Burton’s kicks were the only highlight – his towering left-footed bombs and silky grubbers caused rival captain Kalyn Ponga plenty of headaches. It was no surprise Canterbury’s only try came after Burton threaded the needle perfectly for skipper Josh Addo-Carr to dive.
“It’s disappointing,” Bulldogs coach Trent Barrett said after the 16-6 loss.
“I look like a broken record at press conferences. It’s the same thing every week.
The Knights next take on the Brisbane Broncos at McDonald Jones Stadium on Thursday, with kick-off scheduled for 7.50pm AEST.
— with Joel Gould, NCA NewsWire