Former Knights coach Nathan Brown calls Newcastle’s double injury blow a ‘curse’

The Newcastle Knights’ loss to the cellar-dwelling Canterbury Bulldogs was bad enough but the side’s depth at hooker will be tested after losing two players on Sunday afternoon.

Former Bronco Andrew McCullough went down in the 24th minute, after he performed a regulation tackle on Bulldogs winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, only for his left leg to slide underneath his body in gruesome fashion, damaging his hamstring.

Post-match, coach Adam O’Brien revealed he had “ripped his hamstring off the bone”.

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Just six minutes later, Connor Watson, who had just returned from an ankle injury, fell to the ground after pushing off from marker, with O’Brien revealing he had “”a ruptured Achilles”.

It sees both players out for the season.

With their hooking stocks running low, rookie Chris Randall, as well as halves Mason Lino and Phoenix Crossland, as well as Tex Hoy and development players Luke Huth were the players identified by the Knights’ website as potential hookers.

Is the Knights’ No. 9 jersey cursed?Source:Getty Images

Sharks hooker Cameron King knows all about how brutal the game can be, rupturing his ACL in a trial match after Cronulla offered him a lifeline before the season started.

But would any of them want the position, with former Knights coach Nathan Brown breaking down the Knights’ hooker curse, that dates back to 2019 NRL hall of fame inductee and Newcastle general manager of football Danny Buderus.

The former NSW and Australian dummy half retired after the 2013 preliminary final which the Knights lost 40-14 to the Sydney Roosters.

After 257 games, Buderus was knocked out via a brutal bump from Jared Waerea-Hargraves with his head thumping into the Sydney Football Stadium turf, with reports he was knocked out for “two to three minutes”.

Speaking on Triple M’s Sunday Sin-Bin, Brown said it all started with Buderus.

“I blame Danny Buderus,” he said. “I told Bedsy because Bedsy got KO‘ed in his last game.

“I took Rory Kostjasyn to the club, he got medically retired, he never even got on the field. We signed Slade Griffin, Slade was an outstanding signing for us at the Knights, played 13 games and got medically retired. We then signed Jayden Brailey, I didn’t get to coach Jayden obviously, he played two games and did his cruciate.

“They got an outstanding replacement in Andrew McCullough which what I hear, his injuries are a disaster, and then Connor Watson takes over and from what they’re saying, his ankle is in a horrible situation too. That’s a lot of hookers to go down at one club in such a short period of time.”

This NRL coaching caper is a rollercoaster – just ask Adam O’Brien.Source:AAP

Sharks hooker Cameron King knows all about how brutal the game can be, rupturing his ACL in a trial match after Cronulla offered him a lifeline before the season started.

I love Rugby League but man it can be a cruel game sometimes.
Thoughts are with McCullough & Watson @NRLKnights

And the curse could extend out from the Knights back to the Broncos with McCullough still on the club’s books for next season on a reported $600,000 with Brisbane looking for the Knights to take over his contract.

“That‘s really bad for Andrew McCullough and remember Andrew McCullough is still on contract with the Broncos next year, a very healthy contract,” Phil Gould broke down on the Wide World of Sports’ The Final Whistle.

“They were hoping that by going to the Knights that he‘d impress another club to take up that contract so right at the moment, now that he’s not going to play for the rest of the season and he’s had such a bad injury, whether or not that puts the Broncos in an awkward position because they might not be able to sell him.”

Let’s hope for the sake of the next player to take over the No. 9 that they can break the curse.

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