The Knights’ finals chances went up in smoke in ugly fashion.
The Knights’ finals chances went up in smoke in ugly fashion.

Joey accuses Knights management of ‘sabotage’

ANDREW Johns has savaged Newcastle's management, demanding they explain Nathan Brown's exit and accusing them of sabotaging the Knights' season.

Newcastle's 46-4 loss to the Wests Tigers on Saturday night capped off a horror week for the NRL club, and all but ended any chances of a return to the finals.

Just five days after Brown announced he was quitting the club at the end of the season, they fell to 30-0 by half-time in their worst opening 40 minutes in four years.

But a furious Johns claimed management had given any mentally weak players an excuse not to perform, and hit out at perceived politics at play behind Brown's exit.

"It's no coincidence this hammering is on the back of what happened during the week with the coach Nathan Brown standing down," the club legend told Channel 9.

"The way it has been handled is for me really confusing and disappointing.

"The politics which has gone on behind the scenes, you hear whispers of what is going on and you've got to shake your head.

"Someone has to come out publicly and be accountable for what has happened.

"They were on the verge of making the semi-finals and that has been sabotaged. There is no chance now."

The Knights put in a horrific performance.
The Knights put in a horrific performance.

Johns largely took aim at recruitment manager Troy Pezet, amid suggestions he had fallen out with Brown in the lead-up to the resignation.

Pezet is a long-time Knights employee and it's been widely reported he organised a meeting with likely coach-in-waiting Adam O'Brien before Brown's resignation.

"I don't know what qualifications he (Pezet) has got or where has come from, but his name keeps popping up in this," Johns said.

"Whether it's Troy Pezet or the boss (CEO) Phil Gardner, someone has to be held accountable.

"The Newcastle fans deserve answers on what happened and the way it's been handled.

"Nathan Brown has rebuilt the whole club and roster. And then for this to happen. You shake your head. It's confusing. I can't believe it."

Knights coach Nathan Brown was powerless to lift his team.
Knights coach Nathan Brown was powerless to lift his team.

Saturday night's performance was arguably the worst of Brown's tenure at Newcastle, considering what was on the line.

Brown conceded after it was an indication of why he wouldn't be at the helm in 2020, after taking over when the club was at its lowest ebb at the end of 2015.

"The first half is probably a reflection of why me and the boss came to the resolution we did last week," Brown said.

"When you're in these situations you're either going to get an outstanding performance or what we did in the first half."

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