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Rick Stone has always known Akuila Uate is something special.

Throughout his time at the Knights in a coaching capacity, Stone has been exposed to Uate's freakish skills on a daily basis.

From his blinding pace through to his fearless approach when launching into opposition defences, it's easy to see why many fair judges regard the Newcastle winger among the best in the NRL.

Lets be honest, you only have to watch Aku in full flight to know the guy has got the goods.

Yet for all the Fijian flyers flair and fanfare, leadership is one area of Uates game that Stone admits needed developing.

So seeing Aku get involved at the highest level in the cultural and the prayer and all the stuff that is Fijian at the World Cup, well it made me really proud, Stone enthuses.

"Ive never coached Aku for Fiji.

"Ive obviously coached him plenty at the Knights and knew the wonderful talents that he has got, the toughness and everything that he brings to a team.

But he was a real leader for us on the trip and helped out some of the local boys in understanding how to be a professional.

Thats something that Aku wasnt great at when he first started, but he has got a lot better over time.

"And he was a real leader for me in that regard.

I always enjoy working with Aku, but I really took a lot of pride in how he mixed and how he was a leader."

There's no doubting Uate stepped up off the field at the World Cup, but he was equally as effective on the field.

The 26-year-old crossed the line on three occasions, while he regularly made an impact in defence to help the Fijians' qualify for the semi-finals for the second consecutive World Cup.

Stone was highly impressed with Uate's all-round performance in England, adamant it will give him the confidence to replicate that type of form in the NRL next season.

"Aku is the best finisher from 10 metres out in the NRL and nothing surprises in how he can score tries in seemingly impossible positions," he says.

"I think he was probably a bit harshly treated this year with the media, because I thought his form was pretty consistent.

"Aku is a really well marked these days, especially when he carries it in yardage, but nothing has changed as far as his ability to finish.

"I mean, one-on-one close to the line if you give him half a sniff he can usually finish it pretty well.

"Even Wayne (Bennett) is amazed.

"He said he has seen a lot of great finishers in Lote Tuqiri, Wendell Sailor and all these boys that he has coached before.

"But he said that he has never met or coached a player like Aku, who has that uncanny knack of using his footwork, strength and pure determination to get the ball down."

Knights' forward Korbin Sims also excelled for Fiji at the World Cup.

The 21-year-old may have missed out on the Bati's final two matches due to a dangerous throw suspension, but he still managed to pick-up the nation's Rising Star Award.

Stone believes Sims is now ready to play more NRL football on the back of his standout efforts for Fiji.

"For a player who had only played eight to a dozen first grade games this year in the NRL, Korbin stepped up and was great against Ireland, Australia and England," he says.

"He played against a few big name packs and forwards and for a 21-year-old not taking a backward step, he was outstanding.

"He is going to benefit from the tour, definitely.

"Id like to think he can go on and cement a place in the Knights 17 at the start of next year.

For Stone, the World Cup was an incredible experience.

He says he was blown away by the support for Fiji at the tournament and hopes it will set a precedent for future years.

It was a real honour and privilege to coach the national team, he says.

"When you see the Fijian hierarchy and some of the people that we had with us in tears after some of our results, it sort of hits home how important it is to them.

Its also how important the development of the game is and how happy they are.

To make them that happy is a pretty humbling feeling."

And while Stone concedes he was bitterly disappointed with losing to Australia 64-0 in the semi-final, he can still see positives moving forward.

"Its been two years and sometimes two hard and frustrating years, but Ive got to give credit to the players and the captain Petero Civoniceva," he says.

"Petero basically extended his career at Redcliffe to play in this World Cup and to tick off his football career.

"He is a gentleman and a terrific player still and a person of great humility and great character.

"From our 19-year-old local Fijian boy right through to some of the top end management, everyone got a great thrill out of mixing with Petero throughout the tour.

"We had a really good time, because they are a really good bunch and they are easy to bring together.

"It's why I really think both Aku and Korbin will benefit from the World Cup."