Losing streak puts team in rare company

THE Knights are one defeat away from establishing the second-longest losing streak in the club’s history.
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The Knights have lost seven in a row, matching the mark set by Newcastle teams in 2007 (rounds 18 to 24), 1994 (rounds 16 to 22) and 1991 (rounds 12 to 18), but a loss to the Cowboys at Hunter Stadium on Monday night would move them into the outright silver medal position with eight straight.

The all-time club record for futility was set in 2005, when the Knights lost a well documented 13 on the trot to start the season.

That team responded to the disastrous opening four months by finishing with eight wins from their last 11 games, giving hope to the 2014 vintage that there could be light at the end of the tunnel this season, even if the finals are a forlorn hope.

‘‘You look at all those losses we’ve had in a row and we’ve been in every game, so to come out the back end with no result has been very frustrating,’’ playmaker Jarrod Mullen said after training yesterday.

Losing seven straight is nothing new to prop David Fa’alogo, who endured longer droughts in his seven-year career at the Rabbitohs, but it doesn’t make it any easier.

Souths lost their first 12 games in 2006, and 18 of their first 19, having suffered through two seven-game losing streaks in 2003, an eight-match win-less stretch in 2004, and six on the bounce in 2005.

‘‘We had a bit of a bad run there. I think it was more than seven, so that comes to mind,’’ Fa’alogo said.

■ The NRL is yet to officially announce dates for the final six rounds of the premiership, but Knights fans interested in trekking to the tropics to watch the round-21 game against Souths at Barlow Park in Cairns can start booking flights and accommodation.

The Tickets Cairns (www.ticketscairns老域名出售.au) website is selling tickets for a 3pm kick-off on Sunday, August 3, and the Knights have finalised their travel plans for that time and date.

Being a Souths home game, the Bunnies posted the same information on their website (www.rabbitohs老域名出售.au) on Sunday, promoting the game as The Big Show @ Barlow Park.

■ Cowboys coach Paul Green fears the five-day gap between last night’s Origin game and their trip to Newcastle on Monday will make it tougher on his rep players to back up.

The Cowboys had Johnathan Thurston, Matt Scott, Brent Tate and James Tamou involved last night.

Green would have preferred the game tomorrow or on the weekend.

‘‘I think the earlier you can play, within reason, the better,’’ Green said.

‘‘They certainly played well for us after the last Origin game, but having a little bit longer there, I think a bit more soreness will set in and they might not be as good as they were last time.’’

The Cowboys are chasing their first away win this season, though they should feel confident about their chances of breaking their duck in Newcastle having won two of their past three against the Knights at Hunter Stadium, and five of their past six overall.

‘‘Look, whether it’s home or away, we just need to play well,’’ he said. ‘‘We need to play to our standards.

‘‘You mentioned about defence, and that needs to be as good wherever we play. If we defend the way we have been defending, particularly in that Parramatta game [the Eels won 18-16 two weeks ago], it won’t matter where we play, there’s a chance we’ll get beaten, so it’s about getting back to our standards.’’

■ If Roosters coach Trent Robinson was writing a mid-season report card for his team, he would be penning a teacher’s favourite phrase: ‘‘Can do better.’’

After a sluggish start to their title defence, the premiers have won seven of their past eight to be sitting comfortably in fourth spot in a five-way logjam on 18 points, just two behind equal leaders Penrith and Manly.

But Robinson will insist on more consistency once the dust settles from the representative season and the contenders look to hit top gear for the run home.

‘‘On results, really well. On form, OK,’’ was Robinson’s assessment of his side after they rallied from a 12-6 half-time deficit to rattle up 23 unanswered points to beat Newcastle 29-12.

‘‘We’ve done some really good stuff, we’ve shown why we’re a good team, but haven’t been hard-nosed enough.’’

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