Date: May 08 2012
Crisis, what crisis? While Newcastle are seemingly up the creek without a paddle without captain Kurt Gidley and for the moment hooker Danny Buderus, players were in good spirits at a paddle-boarding recovery session at Carrington yesterday.
Still, after nine rounds, there are some disturbing signs that the memorable season members and supporters had hoped for with the arrival of supercoach Wayne Bennett threatens to deteriorate into another year to forget.
Gidley learnt yesterday he would need season-ending shoulder surgery and, though expected, the confirmation came a day after his teammates were out-muscled in a 24-6 loss to former coach Brian Smith's Sydney Roosters at Allianz Stadium.
Star signing Darius Boyd broke down in the dressing room at half-time against the Roosters and he had to be consoled by Bennett before returning to the field for the second-half.
Boyd's tears, captured by television cameras, and the loss of Gidley for the season epitomise the team's underwhelming start of just four wins from nine games to be ninth. As they prepare for their next assignment, against Johnathan Thurston's North Queensland Cowboys at Hunter Stadium on Saturday night, other troubling issues include:
The long-term health of Buderus, whose chronic Achilles tendonitis has flared again and is likely to hinder him for the rest of the season;
An inconsistent attack that has yielded just 24 tries in nine games;
Hard-hitting forward Joel Edwards faces a one-game suspension after being charged with a grade-one dangerous throw on Roosters halfback Mitchell Pearce;
Back-rower Alex McKinnon must pass a CogSport test this week before being cleared to play against the Cowboys, after being knocked out in a tackle by Roosters hooker Jake Friend.
The Knights have closed ranks around Boyd, choosing not to explain his emotional meltdown on Sunday other than to say ''Darius is fine'', though playmaker Jarrod Mullen gave some insight.
''He wears his heart on his sleeve, and obviously he's trying hard like everyone else. He was a bit upset,'' Mullen said yesterday.
''We're trying hard. It's not through a lack of trying, it's through a lack of execution. Once we start executing our plays better … get those silly errors out of our game, we're going to be in most games.''
After seeing shoulder specialist Des Bokor in Sydney yesterday, Gidley tweeted: ''I'm really really disappointed to announce that my season is unfortunately over. Need a shoulder reconstruction. Devastating …''
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