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Johns takes aim at Hodkinson

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 12/06/2016 James MacSmith

Newcastle great Andrew Johns has taken a swipe at Trent Hodkinson and his fellow senior Knights players and warned it could be 10 years before his former side can challenge for the NRL title again.

The Knights conceded 50 or more points for the third time this season in Saturday's 50-14 loss to the Warriors, their eighth straight defeat.

Newcastle sit dead last on the competition ladder with a 1-1-12 record and a for-and-against of minus 329.

They will likely pick up their second successive wooden spoon this year and Johns says his successor as Newcastle halfback, former NSW playmaker Hodkinson, has to shoulder much of the blame.

Hodkinson joined the Knights this season from Canterbury as the club's key off-season signing.

"For me, it is not the young players who are letting the Knights down," Johns said on Channel Nine's Sunday Footy Show.

"If you go there, if you are at a club on big money, with that comes big responsibility and pressure. You should be leading the team and I don't see that."

Johns backed coach Nathan Brown as the man to lead the club out of their current troubles, but warned it could take a decade before they are an NRL force again.

"It is going to take time it is going to take five years, even 10 years before the Knights are back right up there and competitive and going for the title," Johns said.

"Nathan Brown is the man to steer them. He has made some hard decisions, there's seven or eight players in that team who could play under-20s.

"The average age is about 22 years old so it is going to take time."

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