It was not a traditional clash, but sometimes, you have to win the ugly games, and Newcastle did just that – as they defeated the last placed Eels 14-6, in a game riddled with errors.

The loss heaps more pressure onto Eels coach Stephen Kearney, though his job will remain safe – with several players not performing to the coaches standards, he let them know about in a subtle way, particularly Chris Sandow.

“Bad time to ask me,” Kearney said.

When asked if he wasn’t happy with Sandow’s performance he said again: “Bad time to ask me.”

Eels captain Nathan Hindmarsh took a different tact however, and thought that it was a collective team effort that let them down.

“I think our halves are doing a good job but then it’s up to everyone to listen to them I think,” he said.

“The halves can only call the plays but then it’s up to the boys to get there and today there were a few of us who weren’t trying real hard to get there.”

Kearney felt that whilst the Eels had their chances to win the game, it was the beating themselves up that let them down, more so than the loss they suffered.

“I don’t think Wayne (Bennett) would be real happy but he would be happier than me,” Kearney said.

“I thought we gave ourselves enough opportunities in that second half on their tryline but we just couldn’t come up with that killer blow.

“I don’t mind getting beat but I don’t like us beating ourselves which I thought we did today.”

It was a 40/20 from Knights five-eighth Jarrod Mullen that changed the game, and Knights coach Wayne Bennett believes that Mullen has a good chance of making the NSW squad.

“That turned the game,” Bennett said.

“He can’t be the halfback,” Bennett said.

“That’s not his position. But he’s in the mix with other players like Soward and in with a real chance of selection.

“I’ve got no complaints with him. I think five-eighth’s his position. He’s been there the past three weeks. He’s a crucial part of what we do here.”

By ricky

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