Success not far away for Knights: Brown
Nathan Brown has declared a drought-breaking premiership for Newcastle is closer than most think as the NRL club searches for his replacement as coach.
The Knights haven't won a title since 2001, when Andrew Johns was at halfback and the likes of Danny Buderus and Robbie O'Davis were with him in the spine.
Since then they've won as many wooden spoons as they have finals matches, with the post-Andrew Johns rebuild stunted by the Nathan Tinkler era.
In Brown's tenure though, the Knights have uncovered the likes of young local talents Lachlan Fitzgibbon, Mitchell Barnett and Jacob and Daniel Saifiti.
And with his resignation for the end of the season complete, Brown can see his eventual successor finishing his rebuild quickly with a grand final win.
"I think it (a title) is a lot closer than what people think," Brown said.
"Knights best football teams always have good local juniors in them and some good recruits around them.
"Obviously we have been fortunate with (Mitchell) Pearcey and Kalyn (Ponga) and David Klemmer.
"The Knights two sides that won the grand finals had a core group of local players that started their football in the system.
"Next year is the first time we'll have four or five good players who will be able to play an amount of football."
Brown also declared that his departure would allow the club a shot at their most stable year since that 2001 title success.
A finals finish this year still remains a possibility, with the Knights needing three wins from their finals three games to be a chance of reaching the business end.
But after building a roster on the back of smart recruitment and developing local talent, Brown labelled a change of culture at the club as his best feat.
"The biggest thing I believe is when I first came here the best work was done at the green roof on the dance floors at the night clubs and the bars," Brown said.
"The drinking culture was horrible and it's ruined careers. Whereas now I think these kids know what to prepare for and to live life properly.
"That's my biggest achievement."
© AAP 2019