Coach Rick Stone believes the Newcastle Knights have built an excellent platform to launch into their round two match against the North Queensland Cowboys on Saturday after Saturday’s season opening win.
Despite identifying a number of areas for improvement in the game against the New Zealand Warriors, he says the team’s display of courage and tenacity was impressive so early on in the season.
Spirits were high on Tuesday as the players returned to training at Wests Mayfield after Saturday’s win.
“It’s always good to come back to the first training after a win,” Stone told the media on Tuesday.
“Usually it’s pretty jovial and they are pretty enthusiastic, which they were today.
“Training was pretty short and sharp and we’re on again tomorrow.
“We’ll lay a few plans around the Cowboys and tidy up a little bit from last weekend.”
After pinpointing and working on first round faults, Stone will devise a plan of attack coming into the Knights’ round two clash.
“I think you have to learn after every game,” he said.
“The kicking game was a little bit untidy.
“Our completion and execution wasn’t as good as it needs to be.
“There were a couple of things that we need to work on.”
However, a major positive from the Warriors’ clash was the team’s ability to defend their line under pressure.
“Defensively on the goal line we were pretty sound,” Stone said.
“We have a bit to work on, but still have a bit of time before the weekend.
“The second half was pretty gutsy really.
“We had a bloke in the sin bin for a while and we took advantage when we got a couple of penalties.
“We ended up scoring a try and getting ourselves back in the game and finishing off the stronger out of the two teams, which was pleasing.
“After the weekend we’re building some confidence and regardless of where we play, the players will want to continue to build some confidence this weekend."
There was also assurances in the players’ ability to bounce back physically after the first official game of 2015.
“Generally that’s the nature of the beast in the NRL, the first couple of days you get knocked around,” Stone said.
“It’s surprising how resilient they are in the end, by the time Friday comes, they’re up running around and keen for another game.”
The Knights play the North Queensland Cowboys at 1300SMILES Stadium, kick off is 8pm local time.