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NYC coach Troy Pezet has praised the under 20s Newcastle Knights for their gutsy determination and effort in the side’s 28-12 loss to the Parramatta Eels in a trial match on Saturday.

“We had a pretty good start and went set for set and it was one try each after the first quarter,” Pezet said.

But the Knights lost their way in the second quarter and gave away valuable possession that enabled Parramatta to score a couple of tries on the edge.

The red and blue clawed their way back to level the score in the third quarter, but two late tries from the Parramatta Eels in the last quarter sealed their win. 

"The Knights kept competing all the way to the end,” coach Pezet said. 

Standout performers for Pezet were Jacob Saifiti and Bradie Smith who shone in the back row.

Pezet believes the experience leaves the Knights in good stead for this week’s trial when he plans to play a team that will be close to what he'll select for Round 1.

“We have a lot of things to work on this week, but I think we’ve done a really good job in the off season so far and we just need to tidy up a few areas,” he explained.

“We have a lot of development ahead of us but we are in pretty good shape.

“The guys who have prepared really well in the off-season and our best trainers were our best players and that was a real highlight.

“That’s one thing that’s always good to reinforce in this grade is that players that prepare the best are going to be the best players.”