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For a side that has only completed a couple of training sessions together, the Knights’ effort to topple Penrith on Saturday was hugely impressive. 

Just ask new recruit Matt Minto, a bloke who freely admits he is still coming to terms with learning his teammates' names.    

As much as Minto is understandably finding his feet, it didn't stop the former premiership-winning Mackay Cutters No.7 from playing a leading role in the Club's impressive 24-14 win over the Panthers. 

"I’d be lying if I said it was easy out there because I’m still getting to know everyone," Minto told Knights TV. 

"But I’m sure we’ll get better and get to know each other as the weeks go on and build on that.

"So it was a good start to beat Penrith.

"The boys said before we went out that we were just going to do it for each other.

"So when the going gets tough, we’ve just got to keep up the talk and rip in for each other and I’m pretty sure all the boys did that."

Minto's kicking game was particularly strong against the Panthers, with a number of his kicks leading to tries and quality field possession.    

The man himself though is quick to deflect all of the praise, insisting his teammates helped him significantly. 

"My kicking was good, but it was only as good as the chase though," he says.

"All the boys did some hard work off the ball and it ended up paying off with a couple of tries from cross-field grubbers and kicks.

"So full credit to the outside backs.

"It was a good quality game. 

"I didn’t know what to expect, because I haven’t played NSW Cup before.

"But there are a lot of quality players and it’s a quality comp, so I’m looking forward to going again next week."

Knights' coach Rick Stone was extremely happy with the win, admitting his team will only get better with time.

"Overall it was a really satisfying win given we had a fairly short preparation," Stone says.

"We only had our players for a couple of sessions, so we’ll get better.

"We had 11 or 12 full-time players and the others were part-time players.

"So it takes time to get that mix right, but we’ve got a good group of part-timers and once they gel they’ll make a nice little tidy team.

"It (the Penrith win) was a bit scrappy, but it was always going to be a bit tough in the heat.

"I thought we just hung in there a bit tougher than the Panthers and probably deserved the result in the end."

Stone was impressed with Minto's debut match, while he also heaped praise on three-try hero Chanel Mata'utia. 

"He (Matt) was good, both defensively and offensively he really helped us out," he added.

"He is obviously going to get better when he gets a few combinations with a few blokes around him, but I was really happy with him.

"Chanel I thought in yardage was terrific with his carries there for us and he got the Fox Sports man-of-the-match and that was well deserved." 

Newcastle will take on Mounties in round 2 action at Hunter Stadium this Sunday at 4.15pm.  

Footy’s back at Hunter Stadium!

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