Rugby league: Nathan Brown says Knights have long way to go to match competition heavyweights

IN DOUBT: Mitch Barnett nurses his right shoulder after receiving a knock in the Knights 40-0 loss to Penrith. Picture: Getty Images
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COACH Nathan Brown has hinted at making changes and warned the Knights have “a long way to go” to consistently compete with the leading sides in the NRL.

Stinging from a 40-0 thumping to Penrith, the Knights face adaunting trip to Cronulla to take on the defending premiers on Saturday.

“The first three weeks we did really well,” Brown said. “On the weekend, we got it wrong for whatever reason and got our just rewards.If you are not on your game physicallyand you play a side like Penrith, who have a lot of good footy players and are a very good attacking side, then you will get into trouble.”

After three encouraging performances, highlighted by a drought-breaking 34-26 triumph over the Titans, the Knights had no answers to the power and pace of the Panthers.

Nathan Brown calls for @NRLKnights to get physical. @newcastleheraldpic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/cV7mdTbQJQ

— James Gardiner (@JamesGardiner42) March 27, 2017Mitch Barnett, Brock Lamb, Jacob Saifiti and Danny Levi picked up knocks against the Panthers and are in doubt for Saturday,

“We have a few bumps and bruises so there is going to be one or two guys who are doubtful this week,” Brown said. “When you get beat up, youusually have a few concerns. Jacob Saifiti will have to pass the concussion protocols and Danny Levi has to pass concussion protocols as well.”

On the plus side, fullback Brendan Elliot has recovered from ahead knock and Brown said there could be other changes.

“There are certainly some guys who have probably been a little below par for a couple of weeks in a row now,” he said.“Tupes (Anthony Tupou) is almost ready for a game.There were a couple of performances in reserve grade that were good on the weekend.There are a number of things we have to look at.”

Meanwhile, the Knights will on Tuesday lodge their submission to have a $100,000 fine for failing to adhere to concussion protocols withdrawn.

The Knights received a breach notice after fullback Elliot was not taken from the field for a head injury assessment when hit high in a tackle during the first half of the 24-18 loss to the Rabbitohs a fortnight ago.

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