The Newcastle Knights' win over the Canberra Raiders in Saturday’s trial match has built valuable momentum before the season's start according to coach Rick Stone.
In the week leading up to the game, talk centered on the Knights’ need to transfer preparation on the training paddock into action, and the team accomplished just that scoring five tries and limiting their opposition to one.
“I think we got through our processes pretty well, scored a few tries and defended well,” Stone said after the match hosted at Queanbeyan’s Seiffert Oval.
“Everyone was looking to make sure they got through, built some momentum and confidence and I think they did and came through pretty much unscathed.
“All the performances were pretty solid today."
After a lengthy pre-season, the Auckland Nines tournament and Wauchope trial match, Stone was pleased the team’s fitness and endurance levels held up well against a solid Raiders outfit.
“We stuck to our guns and were able to finish off the game strong,” he said.
“For the Raiders to only score one try was a pleasing aspect.
“I think all the blokes in the squad showed they’re up to NRL level and that gives us some confidence moving forward."
Akuila Uate delivered an explosive performance on the right wing proving he is well and truly fit and in form after recovering from a knee injury in the off season.
“It’s good to see Aku Uate back and scoring a couple of tries,” Stone said.
“Tyrone Roberts was also showed a good performance as well as Kade Snowden in the forwards."
Stone’s focus now shifts to Round 1 against the New Zealand Warriors and finalising positions for the March 7 game at Hunter Stadium.
“I think things are starting to fall into place as we get a bit closer,” he said.
“We still have to pick the 17 for Round 1 but that’s still a few weeks away.
“We’ll sit down, look at a few things and see what are our best options."