Newly appointed head coach Rick Stone, who takes over in 2015 on a two-year deal after stepping aside for Wayne Bennett in 2012, says the future is bright at the Newcastle Knights.
“You don’t get many chances to come back and coach at the same NRL Club as head coach, so it’s a unique situation for myself,” Stone said at Monday's press conference at Wests Mayfield.
“I’d like to think I’ve been pretty patient over those three years and have learnt a lot and understand a little bit about Newcastle from the juniors right through to the top grade.
“I’m really excited about our future.”
The Club went through a thorough process to replace Wayne Bennett, once he announced his departure from the Club at season's end.
A sub-committee of Matt Gidley, Paul Harragon and John Quayle interviewed a number of quality candidates before recommending Stone's appointment to the Club's interim board.
“We went through a thorough process and Rick was always going to be a very strong candidate for the job,” CEO Matt Gidley said.
Stone believes the Club is in a solid position with plenty of locally grown playing talent emerging from the lower grades.
“I’m confident about our region producing good players and confident about our local competition, our junior representative program and our high performance unit,” he said.
Stone will continue his current role as NRL assistant coach and NSW Cup coach until the end of the season, commencing his responsibilities as head coach at the end of the 2014 season.
Behind the scenes, Stone will work with Gidley and recruitment manager Peter Mullholland to finalise the playing roster for 2015.
“Until I sit down with Matt (Gidley) and a few other profile people in the Club, we’ll have a better idea with how we will manage our cap and if or when we can bring some other players in," Stone explained.
The playing group were informed of Stone's appointment on Monday morning.
“They know Rick and have worked with him for the past three years, some players have worked with Rick even longer, so in terms of moving into the role next year, it’s a pretty seamless transition for Rick and for the playing group as well,” Gidley added.