Knights want fans to help end slump - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Knights want fans to help end slump

By Todd Balym 10/08/2009 08:30:46 PM Comments (0)

The desperation is obvious at Newcastle.

After three successive losses to plummet out of the NRL's top eight, the Knights are refusing to acknowledge the fallout from coach Brian Smith's imminent walk out to the Sydney Roosters as the reason for their freefall.

Instead, they've called upon the club's fanatical fan base to lift them out of their funk.

Newcastle host Melbourne at EnergyAustralia Stadium on Monday night, the first of three home games over the final four weeks of the season.

"We need a kick start and I am sure it will come from our fans," said Knights CEO Steve Burraston, adding the club would discount tickets to the final three games of 2009.

"Everyone's asking me how we are going to turn things around. Well I'm prepared to go on the record and declare that the people of Newcastle will turn things around.

"The Novocastrian spirit has pulled the town through an earthquake, floods, unemployment and the like. And they were there to pull their team through a 13-game losing streak.

"It's not the town's spirit to kick you when you are down, I know they will rally behind the team and get us over the line.

"We're on the brink of making the eight, we have a clear home ground advantage and I have confidence that the Novocastrian spirit will rise to the surface again.

"We are one win away from getting our confidence back and again becoming the real premiership threat we are.

"With three of last four games at home, I firmly believe the Newcastle crowd will lift the roof and get us into the finals.

"At our best we can beat anyone, we just need that spark to get back on track and I'm sure it will come from fans.

"The boys love winning for our supporters and I know our home town support will be the tonic we need right now."

Burraston has guaranteed that Smith would see out the year, despite increasing pressure for the coach to quit or the club to sack him and install assistant coach Rick Stone for the rest of 2009.

Burraston said vocal home crowd support was part of the reason the Knights were emphatically belted 40-8 by the Eels at Parramatta Stadium on Sunday.

"The Eels supporters were so vocal it was intimidating. It started in the warm up," he said.

"They played a huge role in influencing decisions and lifting their team. When they worked together you could see Parramatta step up to another level.

"I'm that certain that a packed house for the final three games will be the difference (for us).

"It will have the same effect on the Knights as it has had on Parra's form reversal over recent weeks."

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