O’Brien goes from being near the sack to long-term deal and eyeing off premiership glory

After inking a three-year contract extension that would make him Newcastle’s longest-serving NRL coach, Adam O’Brien has one ambition: silverware. 

Assuming he sees out the deal which runs till the top of 2027, O’Brien will overtake Michael Hagan because the Knights’ most-capped mentor. 

The extension seals a exceptional turnaround for O’Brien, who was underneath stress to retain his job when the Knights have been struggling exterior of the highest eight halfway by way of final season after ending 14th in 2022.

However off the again of a Kalyn Ponga tidal wave and a number of other unsung stars stepping up, the Knights have been capable of declare their first house closing since 2006.

Their type to complete final 12 months has ensured O’Brien’s long-term future, however the coach desires his legacy to be measured by one metric.

“There’s a few guys that have gotten some silverware there that I’d prefer to have,” O’Brien stated on Thursday.  “However I’m actually proud to be one of many leaders of this membership and I’m proper the place I need to be.

“Milestones are nice however that’s additional down the observe for me to reminisce on.”

Solely Mal Reilly (1997) and Hagan (2001) have gained premierships with the Knights. O’Brien’s extension comes simply days after the Knights fended off curiosity from rivals to lock in strike centre Bradman Greatest till the top of 2027.

With Greatest, Ponga, the Saifiti twins and now O’Brien all signed up for the long run, the Knights coach is hoping they’ll construct on their dazzling finish to 2023. 

“We’re nearer than we’ve been for a very long time,” O’Brien stated. “How shut? It’s a tough one to reply however we method each single day with a successful mindset that we are available right here and guarantee that we’re dealing with the method that may care for that silverware.

“That’s a results of arduous work and we’ve executed a very good job on the again finish of final 12 months and over the summer time.

“Finally we have to exit and carry out now so if that will get us there this 12 months, I might be rapt. I’m undecided when it is going to however I do know that we’re on target.”

O’Brien’s deal means grasp mentors Wayne Bennett and Craig Bellamy are the one lively coaches off contract for 2024. Bennett has confirmed he’ll depart the Dolphins on the finish of this season, whereas Bellamy’s future has lengthy been a year-by-year prospect at Melbourne.


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