Brown feeling heat after Knights loss

Gold Coast have smashed Newcastle 38-14, inflicting the Knights' fifth-straight NRL loss.
Gold Coast have smashed Newcastle 38-14, inflicting the Knights' fifth-straight NRL loss.

Pressure is mounting on besieged coach Nathan Brown after an injury-hit Gold Coast Titans thrashed an error-riddled Newcastle 38-14 on Sunday, relegating the Knights to their fifth straight loss.

Brown was reportedly already on notice at Newcastle after their underwhelming season start but now appears on borrowed time following the Knights' 10th defeat in 12 games.

The omens at first didn't appear good for Gold Coast, losing forwards Kevin Proctor (hip/quad) and Keegan Hipgrave (back) before the kick-off and their skipper Ryan James (knee) by the 12th minute.

But in the end it was Brown feeling the heat after the Knights were their own worst enemies, committing 12 errors in a butterfingered display.

At one stage trailing 28-0, Newcastle did at least threaten a comeback, scoring three second half tries in 11 minutes.

However little could cheer up Brown who is no doubt steeling himself for another week of speculation about his future ahead of next round's clash with Parramatta.

"We are past being a team looking to ... pump our chest out and say we had a go in the second half," Brown said.

"The start of the game is what wins games for the good sides and we want to be a good side.

"At the moment people are probably sitting back and laughing that I am saying that: we are 1-5.

"But we have got a side with potential in the making and we need to start our games well."

Despite James' serious injury and last minute withdrawals forcing a dramatic reshuffle, Gold Coast raced to a 22-0 halftime lead with two tries scored off the back of the Knights' many knock-ons.

Newcastle also didn't do themselves any favours at the other end of the field.

Five-eighth Connor Watson set the tone for the day when he dropped the ball within sight of the try line in the 17th minute before being denied a four pointer in the 60th due to a double movement.

And try-bound Knights halfback Mitchell Pearce dropped the ball under the posts in the 46th minute.

It was enough to make Brown tear his hair out, if he had any.

"Whenever we threw any sort of structural shape at them we caused plenty of problems but our polish and final touches looked shocking," Brown said.

"The reality is we came up with some horrible errors, our transition was poor and the other side got out to a 22-0 (half-time) lead - none of those things are acceptable."

Gold Coast marked their first back-to-back home wins since 2017 but coach Garth Brennan was concerned about James who will undergo scans on Tuesday.

He expected Proctor and Hipgrave to return next week against Wests Tigers.

Australian Associated Press