IT would seem a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black. Or perhaps more appropriately, the Brown pot calling the kettle black.
In the first three seasons of his tenure as Knights coach, Nathan Brown was almost exempt from criticism regarding his team's performance, largely because the consensus of opinion was he had inherited a roster that scarcely gave him a fighting chance.
Newcastle's salary cap was, by all accounts, a shambles. Too many ageing players earning too much money and contributing too little.
Brown said he realised soon after arriving at the Knights in late 2015 that the situation was "worse than I thought", prompting him to warn his wife, before a ball had been kicked on his watch, that "we are definitely going to run last for the first two years".
That outlook might sound defeatist, but it was also perhaps realistic. Brown was taking charge of the incumbent wooden spooners, who had been further depleted by the departures of Kurt Gidley, Beau Scott, James McManus, Chris Houston, David Fa'alogo, Tyrone Roberts and Clint Newton.
The worst team in the competition, in other words, had lost 1200-odd games of NRL experience.
Of equal concern for Brown were the huge wages being paid to the likes of Jarrod Mullen, Akuila Uate, Dane Gagai and new signing Trent Hodkinson, which left him with little scope to bring in new personnel.
The process of clearing out the players Brown considered dead wood, freeing up vital salary cap funds, would eventually take two full seasons.
Yet ultimately Brown's rebuild, which delivered quality imports such as David Klemmer, Mitchell Pearce and Kalyn Ponga, was not enough to secure a berth in the play-offs, nor a chance for the coach to remain at the helm for a fifth successive season.
And as Brown's successor, Adam O'Brien, sets about planning and preparing for his first season as an NRL head coach, I can't help wondering if he might be experiencing the same type of misgivings that his predecessor did four years earlier.
Brown might have confidently declared in August, when it was announced he would be leaving the Knights, "I've laid a good platform for the next coach", but it could also be argued he has left O'Brien with some unresolved dilemmas.
In particular, the decision to sign hooker Jayden Brailey from Cronulla, while Danny Levi has another year to run on his contract, has become problematic.
Presumably Brown thought he could move Levi on, yet the Kiwi international now appears intent on turning up for the first day of pre-season training, as he is perfectly entitled to do.
Levi and Brailey could conceivably tag-team at hooker, but that raises the question of what becomes of Connor Watson, who excelled at dummy-half late last season, and the equally versatile Kurt Mann, who was recruited specifically to play No.9, but hardly received a chance.
If all four are on Newcastle's books next season, then that means O'Brien will have less to spend on positions he needs to bolster, in particular his outside backs.
The departure of veteran Shaun Kenny-Dowall to England leaves a vacancy on the right flank, but replacing Jesse Ramien at centre shapes as an even greater challenge.
Ramien showed only glimpses of his true colours during his 17 games for Newcastle, but nonetheless it would be no surprise if he starts realising his potential at a rival club next season.
Ramien, of course, was basically told to pack his bags by Brown, who apparently objected when he learned people representing the 22-year-old had been shopping around for a better deal.
Ramien's treatment continued a recurring trend of players not fulfilling their contracts with Newcastle, for a variety of reasons.
Houston, Uate, Hodkinson and Uate all received partial payouts from the Knights to ply their trade elsewhere, while the Sims brothers, Tariq and Korbin, and Joseph Tapine were granted early releases after signing elsewhere.
Moreover, as well as Levi, Nathan Ross (before his injury-enforced retirement) and Mason Lino - and in all likelihood others - were encouraged to explore other options, despite being contracted to Newcastle.
That is despite Brown telling the Herald last year: "I believe there is a credibility factor there as a coach in making sure you get your recruitment decisions right and then standing by them ... once you make a judgment call and bring a player in, as a coach, you have to back your ability to get the best out of him."
On another occasion, Brown told me that the only way the club would pay a player to leave prematurely "is if we make a bad business decision".
That he was subsequently willing to tap Ross, Levi and Lino on the shoulder would suggest Brown had second thoughts about those investments.
All of which underlines what a complicated job it is to manage a salary cap and a roster, in a dog-eat-dog environment such as the NRL.
Here's hoping Adam O'Brien is able to make a better fist of it than previous Knights coaches. His future will probably depend on it.