With the curtain closing on the 2019 regular season and the top eight finally taking shape, we thought we would take a look at the top five disappointments of the 2019 season.
With the NRL now beginning to resemble a pinata more than a national sporting organisation following consistent scathing reviews of the current administration, the following organisations and individuals have been listed following their sub-par 2019 performance in conjunction with the reputation they garnered in previous seasons.
5. Newcastle Knights
Seemingly out of the dreaded rebuilding phase following a bumper recruitment drive, the Newcastle Knights finally looked set to climb their way out of rugby league insignificance and announce themselves as a force to be reckoned with once more.
Experiencing an unexpectedly slow start, winning only one of their first six rounds, under siege coach Nathan Brown decided to put Kalyn Ponga back to his customary fullback position, which was almost immediately followed by an up-turn in form. With the Hunter based side going onto win their next five games straight, including an impressive 38-12 thrashing of the Sydney Roosters in front of the Knights faithful, with many fans and pundits alike stating that this win had reinstated the Knights as top four contenders.
With Kalyn Ponga an unstoppable force, Mitchell Pearce riding the wave of his first Origin series victory and David Klemmer finally filling the void left by Paul Harrogan all those years ago, things were looking up in Newcastle and the team was considered all but certain to make the finals.
However, unfortunately, since that victory over the Roosters, the Knights have gone onto lose eight of their next nine games, with seemingly everything that could have gone wrong doing so.
Fans are once again calling for Nathan Brown’s head, with star off-season signing Jesse Ramien being released from the remainder of his contract, Daniel Saifiti not kicking on since his Origin debut and Mitch Pearce’s form dropping off a cliff, it’s fair to say that no one saw this coming.