NRL: Knights coach Nathan Brown backs Warriors for grand final push

Newcastle Knights coach Nathan Brown thinks the Warriors have a great chance of reaching the NRL grand final if they continue their winning form heading into the playoffs.

The Warriors claimed their 13th win of the season on Friday night, beating the Knights 20-4 to all but secure their spot in the NRL playoffs.

The win puts the Warriors six points ahead of the ninth-placed Wests Tigers with three rounds to go, although the Tigers have a game in hand.

But if the Warriors can win one of their remaining three games against the Bulldogs, Panthers or Raiders, that should be enough to confirm their spot in the finals for the first time since 2011.

With that in mind, Brown rates the Warriors as good a chance as any in the top eight of making the grand final.

"I think every coach in the top-eight would feel like if they could get it right for two or three weeks, they could get in the grand final." he said. "And I don't think the Warriors are any worse chance of putting two or three games together [in the playoffs] than any of the other sides.

"The Warriors would be fancying themselves as a shot of playing in a grand final if they get it right.

"Nine [Issac Luke], seven [Shaun Johnson] and one [Roger Tuivasa-Sheck] have all played a fair part in the Kiwis' resurgence in rugby league, winning World Cups and Tri-Nations."

Brown believes a big reason why the Penrose-based club has been so successful this year is due to their back three of captain Tuivasa-Sheck, David Fusitu'a and Ken Maumalo.

Warriors captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.
Warriors captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck. Photo credit: Photosport

"We didn't handle their back three as good as we'd have liked. Roger [Tuisava-Sheck] had a bit of a day out, and the two big wingers are big powerful men.

"Back threes play such a big part in our contests today, and Roger is up there as good as any and the two wingers, they're big, big men, so they've got a good nucleus there to really build some momentum if they have their best players in the field.

"They're a good footy side, they've got good players in key positions that understand what is required and big outside backs, Tohu Harris and [Adam] Blair, so they've got a bit of big game experience in the pack as well."

Halfback Mitchell Pearce agreed with Brown's comments about the Warriors dangerous back three.

"I probably rate them the best," he said.   

"Melbourne have got a pretty good back three, and the Roosters, with Fergo [Blake Ferguson] and guys like that.

"But the way Roger's playing at the moment and then obviously their two wingers, they were making 30-40m in three plays just on their own."

When asked about Brown's and Pearce's back three assessment, Kearney simply responded: "I'm not going to argue there."


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