The future continues to look bright for the re-building Newcastle Knights, who’ve locked in coach Adam O’Brien until the end of the 2024.
O’Brien’s existing contract was due to expire at the end of 2022.
The rookie head coach, who was previously an assistant at the Roosters and Storm, enjoyed a fruitful debut season in 2020, steering Newcastle to their first finals appearance since 2013.
The six years in between were utterly barren for the Knights, failing to finish higher than 11th in that period and collecting three consecutive wooden spoons from 2015 to 2017.
“I’ve been really pleased with our overall progression since I joined the club back in November 2019,” O’Brien said.
The Knights are hoping to continue on an upwards trajectory in 2021, signing Origin forward Tyson Frizell and keeping the bulk of last year’s squad together.
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“I’m really pleased with the people we have under the roof,” O’Brien said.
“We’ve brought in several key staff members to complement our existing team, some great recruits, and key retentions – and we have an ongoing strategy designed to ensure our list remains highly competitive. I’m really proud they chose us, just like our members.”
The 43-year-old hopes to remain up north for years to come.
“From day one, Sharyn and I knew Newcastle was for us – it’s like where we both grew up on the South Coast of NSW. We were a good fit for Newcastle, and Newcastle is a good fit for us,” he said.
“We both love the community, we enjoy life outside of work and this extension allows us to bed down our new home and build deeper roots.”
Newcastle CEO Philip Gardner said the contract resolution was ‘an ideal outcome for everyone’, and will allow them to build on last year’s success.
“Adam is an outstanding coach and an outstanding person, and everyone at the Club is delighted that he will be our Head Coach for a further two seasons,” Gardner said.
“Adam’s continued growth and evolution as a coach confirms he is the right person to lead the Newcastle Knights now and into the future.
“We are absolutely thrilled to know that he will be here until at least 2024, and hopefully many more years after that.”
The 31-year-old halfback stepped down from the captaincy after some off-field issues in the off-season, but is still seen as the man to steer Newcastle around the field and hopefully to a top four finish.
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