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Newcastle Knights assistant coach Rick Stone has been appointed as the Club’s head coach for the next two years.

Stone will take over from Wayne Bennett at season’s end, following Bennett’s decision to join the Brisbane Broncos next season.

“We are pleased to announce Rick Stone will be our new head coach commencing in season 2015,” CEO Matt Gidley said.

“Rick has a thorough knowledge of our Club and the community, which are qualities we felt important in the head coach position.

“We look forward to Rick continuing to focus his energies on our current NRL team, and also our NSW Cup team as they move towards the finals later in the year.”

Stone joined the Club in 2006, originally as an assistant to Michael Hagan before taking over the reigns in 2009 before returning to assistant in 2012.

He is looking forward to building on his 54 games at the helm of this proud Club.

“It's great to get another chance to coach the Knights because it’s not often you get a second opportunity to coach at the same Club,” Stone said.

“We have some exciting times ahead with some great young juniors coming through this year and some more talent not too far away from playing NRL.

“We still have plenty to look forward to this season. Our NRL team recorded two great wins at home against the Sydney Roosters and Melbourne Storm, our Under 20s are leading the competition while our NSW Cup team have surged over the last few weeks to be in fifth position.”

Stone thanked a number of people following his appointment.

“Thanks to Nathan Tinkler, Troy Palmer and Wayne Bennett for giving me a chance to stay on during Wayne's tenure,” Stone added.

“I have learnt a lot over the last three years and know it puts me in a good position to take the Knights forward.

“Thanks for the support from Matt Gidley and Paul Harragon and more recently, John Quayle.  

“I've also had great support from the current playing group and the people of Newcastle.”

With the Club heading towards finals in both NSW Cup and NYC, it is business as usual for all grades until the 2014 season concludes.