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Storm set benchmark for young Knights

Coach Nathan Brown and co-captain Jamie Buhrer spoke to the media following the loss to the Melbourne Storm.

“I thought the first time we played them, they were clearly the number one side in the competition and I didn’t see anything today to suggest I would be changing my opinion,” said Brown.

“For our younger players, that is the level they’ve got to aspire to get to.

“Physically they’re quite big and strong and I thought we handled them a lot better in the first half than what we did last time which was pleasing.”

The Knights coach admits the ladder leaders have several game-changing players.

“They bring on Nelson (Asofa-Solomona) off the bench and bringing Jesse (Bromwich) back, those blokes can really change the momentum of the game and the shift of the game,” Brown commented.

“They certainly get their halves in good situations and their halves and fullback are very good players.”

Despite being unable to make it four consecutive wins, Brown saw some positive signs from some of his men.

“We had some blokes that I though performed well, (Brock) Lamby did well on one leg for 65 minutes and wanted to stay on the field which that’s a good sign,” explained Brown.

“Daniel Saifiti played 70 minutes and I though defensively he was pretty fair and wasn’t involved in any of our trouble through the middle so that was a big effort by Daniel.

“We had blokes in the first half of the contest that I thought did compete really well.

“Lachie (Lachlan Fitzgibbon) is good with the ball but he’s got other parts of the game where he’s got to work hard at to get to the level of what a good edge back rower plays at.

“He has made some terrific improvements and we’re hopeful of getting Lachie to re-sign but these things do take time.”

Brown acknowledged young five-eighth Brock Lamb suffered a knee injury.

“It might be the end of him for the year and a few blokes in there that are a bit wounded,” confirmed Brown.

“Brock is our number one kicker and has been creating a lot of chances so it certainly had a little effect on us.

“Hopefully it’s only minor and even if he misses the next two games, hopefully it’s not anything major so he can have a really good pre-season.

“Brock has certainly put his hand up and shown that he’s got the talent to move forward and that’s pleasing.”

The Knights coach confirmed he’ll be looking to Reserve Grade to source a replacement in the halves.

“Jack Cogger missed the first four months of the year and has been back for a while,” he said.

“In Reserve Grade, he’s had some really good games and handled himself so would be the number one contender.”

Brown admits the Melbourne Storm is a far better side than what they were last year.

“Billy (Slater) is back and we all know what an impact he has on the team, (Cameron) Munster is a player that has continued to grow and improved at Origin level,” added Brown.

“The other thing about them now is they’ve got their structure but they’ve got a fair bit of ad-lib so I think they’re clearly a better team than they were last year.”

Co-captain Jamie Buhrer said while the result was disappointing, for the most part they defended their goal line well.

“I thought we were relatively good in the first ten minutes but they’re just good at finishing off line breaks,” said Buhrer.

“They have got some quality players to finish things off and the game certainly got away from us.

“They have been the number one contender for the premiership and they’re a quality team.

“They are well coached, they put pressure on you and they turn small chances into points but they’re certainly a quality opposition and probably the best we’ve encountered this year and we’ve got a lot of learning to do this week including myself.”