The final scoreline against the Roosters might suggest otherwise, but Newcastle Knights NSW Cup coach Rick Stone couldn't be prouder of his side's effort in their 32-4 loss against the reigning NRL premiers in Wyong on Saturday night.
Led by a star-studded side, including 10 players from last year's premiership-winnng team, the Roosters' charged to a comfortable victory over the Knights at a rain-drenched Morrie Breen Oval.
And while Stone was disappointed to lose, he says the Club can take plenty of positives out of the match with a number of players proving they can compete against some of the game's best.
“It was a tough night, but I was pretty happy with most of our blokes," Stone says.
"We probably only had six full-time players and compared to the Roosters who fielded 10 or 12 of their grand final side, I thought it was a really commendable performance from us.
"Dave Fa’alogo played well, so did Korbin (Sims).
"I also thought the two hookers Travis Waddell and Chad Redman played pretty well for me.
“At the moment in the NSW Cup we are trying to find some players to complement our full-time players.
“Last night showed that there are more than a few blokes up to taking the next step.
"I had to give everyone pretty limited time, because I had a second squad full of part-timers for the second half.
"So they all didn’t get a lot of time, but the Roosters mainly played their big guns in the first half.
"That sort of suited as well."
Stone says the big-name Roosters outfit were also impressed by the Knights' effort despite their Club missing so many regular NRL players due to the NRL Auckland Nines.
“Our performance was what the Roosters were after," he added.
“They were really happy with the contest considering we only had a handful of full-time players.
“Wayne (Bennett) will take roughly 20 players to Tamworth for the Raiders trial and a few more boys will filter back to the NSW Cup.
“Then we’ll start to trim down our side to make it resemble a team we’ll put together for the first round.”
Stone was also on hand for the Club’s NYC trial against the Roosters, saying the the Knights' competed hard despite a 26-14 loss.
"The first quarter we were probably off the pace a little bit, but I thought we competed really well in the next three periods,” he says.
“There were a few young front-rowers that stood out.
“So we probably just missed the jump a little bit in the first period, but after that went well.”
Meanwhile in NYC, the Knights were defeated 26-14, in SG Ball, Wests Magpies defeated the Knights 28-14 while in the Harold Matthews, Wests Magpies also recorded the win, 26-24.