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The Newcastle Knights created history against Cronulla on Sunday, with their 30-0 victory only the tenth time in 639 premiership games dating back to 1988 that the Club has kept an opposition team scoreless. 

In the current era of free-flowing football, it's a statistic that shows just how difficult it is to shutout rival teams.   

Prior to last Sunday's win over the Sharks, the Knights had only managed to restrict their opponents to zero on nine occasions in a period spanning 27 years.    

Assistant coach Rick Stone was shocked, yet extremely happy when told about the statistic this week. 

"It’s surprising really, I thought it might have happened a bit more," Stone admits.

"It probably shows a little bit about the modern game too and about the quality of the attack.

"There are not a lot of nil scorelines with the way possession flow is these days and the closeness of the competition.

"So whenever you keep a team to nil you’ve done a significantly good job defensively.

"On the weekend the Sharks were a little bit rusty, but to get through 80 minutes without conceding a point is always satisfying when you finish that’s for sure.

"The Roosters did it a couple of times last year and came up with the best defensive record in the league, but for us to do it on Sunday was a decent feather in everyone’s cap."

Stone says the Club work hard on their defence as a unit. 

From 20s coach Mick Crawley through to head coach Wayne Bennett, Club legend Danny Buderus and Stone himself, it's very much a team mentality when it comes to helping out in the tackling department.

"I think everyone has got a bit of a role to play in the team defensively," he says.

"Mick (Crawley) does the right edge, I do the left edge, Wayne does the middle and Bedsy just floats around and works with some individuals.

"So every group has got a goal set each week about what they want to get done.

"Obviously a clean sheet is a satisfying one."

Stone admits the team felt let down by their defence against the Storm in round three, but they put in the hard yards at training to make amends.    

"We were a bit disappointed in some areas against Melbourne," he concedes.

"But we went back during the week and worked on some individual tackle technique and defending as a group a bit better and communicating and it obviously paid off for us this week. 

"I think when you’ve done it (defence) well and you do it well for a long period, it just breeds confidence.

"Particularly if you’ve got a familiarity about your edge and you form combinations.

"Having Darbs (Boyd) back definitely helps sorting a few things out on our goal line.

"He does that exceptionally well and cleans up at the back."

Stone says the challenge is now maintaining their strong defence in the coming weeks, especially with a tough draw ahead. 

The Knights tackle the Cowboys in Townsville on Monday, before a road trip to Canberra and finally a huge Good Friday clash at home against the Brisbane Broncos.

"We’ve got three games with mostly all short turnarounds as well, so how we defend is going to be really important," he stresses.

"Now we’ve got to go to North Queensland and try and get close to doing it again.

"Because if we can keep up our defence, it will go a long way to helping us win."


-1989- Rd 6 vs Norths 12-0

-1990- Rd 3 vs Wests 34-0

-1995- Rd 13 vs Bulldogs 42-0

-1997 Rd 10 vs Souths 30-0

-1997 Rd 3 vs Crushers 44-0

-1999 Rd 23 vs Souths 60-0

-2001 Rd 18 vs Broncos 44-0

-2009 Rd 26 vs Panthrers 25-0

-2011 Rd 20 vs Sharks 18-0

-2014 Rd 4 vs Sharks 30-0


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