ON THE CHIN: Hooker Danny Levi (left) insist Knights players must take responsibility for poor performances. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers KNIGHTS hooker Danny Levi has leapt to the defence of besieged mentor Nathan Brown, insisting the coach is not to blame for players making fundamental errors.
Brown’s 18-month tenure hit rock bottom on Sunday when the Knights surrendered 33-12 toWests Tigers and put a mortgage on a third-straightwooden spoon.
Club chairman Brian McGuigan put the coach and the players on notice on Monday, describing thelossas “unacceptable”, “embarrassing” and “a catastrophe”.
Brown has another year remaining on his contract and although there are no plans to alter that McGuigan said the “community expects better”.
However, Levi said the players rather than the coach should bearthe brunt of the criticism.
“All he is trying to do is make us better,” the 21-year-old said. “He shouldn’t cop any of the blame. Our performance just wasn’t there. He can only do so much. The rest is up to us and we have to do better.”
Levi made 43 tackles, ran 73 metres and was unlucky not to be awarded a try when ruled held up.
“I saw it get down,” he said of the ball. “I appreciate the referee didn’t see it and called no try. You couldn’t see it on the camera. I think if he had called a try it would have been a try. If you are playing good footy, usually the luck goes your way.”
The wholehearted dummy-half also made three uncharacteristic errors with the ball and missed four tackles.
“Browny can’t coach [against] two drop balls and a forward pass,” he said. “We just have to stick to his game plan. When we do we know how well we go. The first half against St George (leading 28-10) we were going so well. When we go off it, things turn bad for us. He has given us the tools and the right direction to go, we just have to be able to put iton the field.”
Brown has made three changes –two forced – for the clash against Canterbury at Belmore Oval on Sunday.
Trent Hodkinson and Jalen Feeney remain in the halves, with Brock Lamb named 18th man.
Dane Gagai, who was their best against the Tigers, is in camp with the Queensland team ahead of the Origin decider and winger Ken Sio has a shoulder problem.
Brendan Elliot has been recalled on one wing and Chanel Mata’utia will start on the other flank in his first NRL game since round one last season.
LukeYates replacesJosh Starling on the bench.
The Dogs will be without NSW Origin trioBrett Morris, Josh Jackson and David Klemmer.Kerrod Holland, Raymond Faitala-Mariner and Sam Kasiano will start. Asipeli Fine and Andy Saunders are fresh faces on the bench.