NSW Cup coach Rick Stone has credited a well polished, error free start to the Knights game on Saturday as the key to over-powering a sizeable New Zealand Warriors side.
“It was a good performance, in the first 50 minutes, we really didn’t make an error and we’ve given ourselves a chance to win,” he said.
“Obviously against a big Warriors team, we needed to keep the ball away from them, keep the ball in play and kick well.
“It got a little bit untidy at the back end of the game, but overall it was a really good performance and a hard fought win.”
Late call up Honeti Tuha replaced Nathan Ross (virus) at fullback and shone after breaking through the Warriors defence to score an 80-metre try.
“Honeti jumped in and took his spot and did an outstanding job,” Stone said.
“He’s played probably about 10 games with us and been a really capable fill in every time he’s played for us.”
Tuha plays in the Newcastle competition for Lakes United and looks to join the NSW Cup Knights full time when the local season concludes shortly.
Veteran forward Clint Newton continued to stamp his experience and playing finesse on NSW Cup’s game scoring a double against the Warriors on Saturday.
“Clint brings a wealth of experience to our team and some real composure and understanding of what’s absolutely necessary to go to the next level,” Stone said.
“He’s challenged a lot of our young forwards, which has been great and I think he’s backed it up in the way he’s played himself."
Stone said the relationship between Newton and Michael Dobson, who played together at Hull KR in the UK, continues to blossom.
New recruit Sam Mataora was also a stand-out for Stone.
“Sam's progress has been great…he’s played some big minutes for us and carried the ball a lot of times,” the coach praised.
“His defence has been tidy and he’s established himself as one of the starting props, as well as Pat Vaivai who has had an outstanding year as well.
“They are terrific players to start the game for us and really held their own against a much bigger Warriors pack on the weekend."
The Knights will be hoping to continue their five-game winning streak to earn a place in the finals.
“Hopefully we’re finals bound in some capacity, where we finish is up to us and how we play in the next couple of weeks," Stone said.
“We’re probably still in control of our own destiny which is nice.”