It's funny how professional sport rolls.
Only a few months ago before everything went dramatically pear-shaped, Nathan Brown was seemingly leading the Knights to the promised land - a drought-breaking finals appearance at the very least and potential top four finish if the cards fell right.
Instead, the cards crashed, bringing the house down with it and Brown fell on his sword before he could be pushed out the door.
But what price him re-emerging in round one next year at McDonald Jones Stadium, only this time in the away team's coaching box?
We've been told Brown has signed on as a coaching consultant to the Knights' first round opponents, the Warriors, in a deal which will see him travelling to Auckland on a regular basis.
Brown confirmed our story but played down his "minor" role and the possibility of sitting in the visitors' coaches box in Newcastle.
"At this stage, it's only five weeks worth of work up until Christmas and in that time, I'll only be working with their hookers," Brown said.
"I start over there the week after next and will be travelling in an out. I'm not too sure if it will develop into anything more than that. I've got some irons in the fire media-wise that I'm looking at but nothing has been finalised."
Brown said he wasn't even aware the Knights and Warriors clashed in round 1.
If you want to get a gauge on how your squad is really travelling a fortnight out from the start of the premiership, why not take on the very best beforehand.
That's clearly the mentality Adam O'Brien is taking into his first season as head coach of the Knights.
O'Brien won't have to wait until round 10 in May next year before he comes up against his premiership-winning former club Sydney Roosters for the first time.
We're told the Knights will take on the defending premiers in a pre-season trial two weeks prior to the club's season-opener in Newcastle against the Warriors on March 14.
As tests go, they don't come any bigger.
The game, which is certain to feature full strength squads from both sides in their final hit-out prior to round one, will be played in Gosford on Saturday, February 29.
It will be the club's second trial.
After hosting Knights pre-season games for the past two years against Parramatta and the Sharks, Maitland Sportsground will again be a trial venue, this time against St George Illawarra the week before the Roosters game on Saturday, February 22.
The matches, against two of the NRL's most high profile clubs, will give O'Brien a real gauge on where his squad is at heading into the 2020 season.
It would be the grudge match of the year and a promoter's dream to kick off the 2020 Newcastle RL season.
The competition draw has not yet been finalised but we're hearing officials are strongly considering pitting defending premiers Western Suburbs against Maitland in a season-opening block-buster at Maitland Sportsgound in April.
The new-look Pickers will have a real Rosellas feel about them next season that should guarantee an explosive clash between the two clubs.
Wests premiership-winning coach Matt Lantry and three high profile Rosellas players, Alex Langbridge, Pat Mata'utia and Chad O'Donnell, have all defected to the Pickers.
The gut-busting 1.2 km time trial on the opening day of pre-season training has become a bit of a tradition at the Knights in recent seasons so the playing squad knew it was coming on Wednesday.
What coach Adam O'Brien didn't tell his players beforehand was that they would be running it not once but twice. An early mental test as much as a physical test to sort out the men from the boys.
O'Brien, who is all about effort and not taking shortcuts, was hands-on during his first session in charge but also sat back to observe, even noting which players were standing in the shade.
Injury cruelled his playing career but courageous former hooker Slade Griffin may not be lost to the Knights altogether after all.
It's understood Adam O'Brien, who worked closely with Griffin when they were both at the Melbourne Storm, is preparing to bring the luckless ex-Kiwi Test No 9 in on a part-time basis as a wrestling coach.
The Knights have beaten the Canberra Raiders to the punch to entice 22-year-old Gold Coast Titans outside back Tyronne Roberts-Davis to train with the club over the summer.
The Raiders also offered Roberts-Davis, a former Australian Schoolboys rep who made his NRL debut in 2017, a train and trial deal but he opted for the Knights, presumably because the club is lacking in backline depth and the potential opportunities might be greater.
A relative of former Knights flier Ashley Gordon, he'll join pre-season training for the first time on Monday.
The Knights have shelved the idea of creating a coaching director-type position at the club to assist head coach Adam O'Brien.
Former Kangaroos coach Tim Sheens and ex-Knights coach Michael Hagan were both spoken to in a bid to gauge their interest in the role but ultimately, the decision to appoint or not to appoint was left to O'Brien. Given the size of his staff already, he's happy to go without.
Dogs cashing in
Kurri Bulldogs haven't had the luxury of anything like the player budgets of the competition heavyweights in the Real NRL over the past few years under former coach Ron Griffiths.
But clearly the club is doing everything it can financially to give new captain coach Mitch Cullen and his team the best chance of being successful in 2020.
We're told high profile signing, former Kiwi international and Roosters and Raiders forward Frank Paul Nuuausala knocked back a substantial offer from a rival club to sign with Kurri despite having a season to run on his contract with the Singleton Greyhounds in Group 21.
Now we hear the Bulldogs have picked up former Penrith Panthers and Bradford five-eighth Harry Siejka, a player the club chased last season but dropped off because of his asking price.
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