Newcastle Knights' coach Rick Stone credits Newcastle's strong start against the Penrith Panthers to seizing the team’s fourth consecutive win.
“It was a good start, that first 20 minutes really set up our game,” Stone said in the post match press conference.
“We played nice and direct and ran the footy with plenty of purpose, had good support and a bit of variation."
The Knights established a valuable advantage after a trio of tries from Chris Houston, Adam Clydsdale and Kurt Gidley in the first half that speared the Panthers onto the back foot from the outset.
“To lead 18 nil is a massive boost in a game,” he added.
However, the Knights intensity waned in the second half allowing the Panthers simple opportunities to put their own points on the board.
“It didn’t look pretty at the end and there were plenty of tired bodies out there,” Stone admitted.
“I think there was plenty of will at the end of the game, we didn’t manage the last little bit as good as we would have liked.
“The effort, the scramble and the desperation was there for everyone to see, and that’s really important for us.
“They showed they wanted to play for each other.
“We weren’t totally happy with everything, but again, like the last couple of weeks we’ve scrambled well and started off well.
“Eventually we were good enough to win the game."
Stone praised the team effort but had special mentions for a number of the men in red and blue who rose to the occasion.
20-year-old Joseph Tapine backed up after playing in NSW Cup Knights’ the previous game after Robbie Rochow was struck out in the warm up due to a back complaint.
“In the end Joe came in, he played 60 minutes in the Cup and did a stint either side of half time and did pretty well,” Stone said.
“Jack Stockwell, as far as a senior player on the bench, even though he’s a pretty young bloke, he played really strongly for us in the time he was out there.
“It was also good to see Tyler Randell get some time out there.”
Stone rates the Knights' determination shown this season and commends the benchmark the team has set itself.
“All we want to do is making sure we are competing and trying hard and we’ve done that so far,” he said.
“We’ve made our own luck in some games, and you need a bit of luck.
“The most impressive thing is how the boys want to play for each other and keep turning up for each other.
“That’s a good sign.
“I know we can’t keep on doing that forever, we need a bit of polish and hold our composure a bit better.
“To win four in a row, It’s great start for us.”