Jobs are on the line at the Newcastle Knights with the club set to undertake a major review after a disastrous loss to the Wests Tigers on Friday.
It comes after coach Adam O’Brien admitted there’s a losing culture at the club and will make sweeping changes to his team if that’s what is necessary to turn things around.
Phil Rothfield is reporting that no one is exempt from the review as he told Sky Sports Radio’s Big Sports Breakfast it will start from the very top and go all the way through the club.
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“I spoke to (Knights CEO) Phil Gardner on Saturday morning about the situation and he’s renowned as one of the toughest administrators in the game,” Rothfield said.
“He’s about to start a review, a complete examination of the football department.
“It will start at Danny Buderus’ level as general manager of football and it will go right down to the physios, recruitment, the whole business.”
Gardner confirmed to News Corp he will be “reviewing everything” in a bid to combat the inconsistency that Newcastle have dealt with for the last few seasons.
“We’re reviewing everything. Right the way through from the front office down,” he said.
“We’ll look at all individuals and what they bring to the club. That includes culture, recruitment and physical performance and rehabilitation. We’re off the pace at the moment and need to fix it.
“The level of inconsistency at our club is far too high.
“We thought we could change it this year but we haven’t. Everyone’s got to get on board to fix that.
“There’s 14 clubs out there under pressure that need to lift to the level of Storm and Penrith and we’re one of them. There’s a big gap between second and everyone else.”
Rothfield pressed Gardner on the future of Anthony Seibold. The ex-Broncos coach was hired after a tumultuous time at Red Hill that ended just two seasons into what was meant to be a five-year tenure.
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The CEO kept his cards relatively close to his chest but Rothfield believes Seibold could be on his way out.
“It was interesting when I asked him about Anthony Seibold because he was a very high profile addition to the Knights’ coaching team this year,” he said.
“(Gardner) told me he’s on a one-year contract so I don’t think ‘Seibs’ will be there next year.
“He just hasn’t had a lot of input. The way the team’s playing, they’ve probably gotten worse than last year.”
Newcastle haven’t been anywhere near the expectations of a club that boasts the likes of Kalyn Ponga, Mitchell Pearce and David Klemmer.
There was high hopes when O’Brien joined the club last year in his first head coaching gig. He had previously worked under supercoaches Craig Bellamy and Trent Robinson and was regarded the man that could take the Knights to a premiership.
O’Brien signed an extensions in February that will keep him at the club until the end of 2024 and Rothfield believes the coach’s job is safe.
He thinks, rather, the team is just simply lacking leadership.
Halfback Mitchell Pearce relinquished the captaincy after some off-field dramas. The club unveiled a five-man leadership group after that made up of Daniel Saifiti, Jayden Brailey, Kalyn Ponga, Blake Green and Mitch Barnett.
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“It’s pretty obvious though their problems is instability in the spine. They haven’t had Ponga and Pearce at all this year together. They’ve got a young hooker in Jayden Brailey,” Rothfield said.
“I think they’ve got leadership problems with Mitchell not in the side.
“Jayden’s a really handy player and so is Daniel Saifiti but I don’t think when you stack them up, just their leadership qualifications against other clubs — the big clubs — they’re not quite there.”
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