Danny Levi says the NYC Newcastle Knights will take plenty of lessons from their match against the North Queensland Cowboys, which saw the young Knights on the wrong end of a 56-16 score line.
One of the key areas for improvement according to the side’s hooker is the Knights’ defense.
“I think it was their big forwards,” Levi told Knights TV in the sheds after the game.
“We came out with the mentality thinking that we were going to stop them, but we didn’t quite do that on the field.
“We let them through a fair bit, but that’s something that we’ll have to go back and work on.
“There’s a few things we have to work on and it's definitely our defense in the middle also our go-forward. I think we’ve been lacking that in the last couple of weeks.
“I think that’s something Craig Smith (and other coaches) are really going to challenge us on in the next couple of weeks.
Team manager Craig Smith said the loss was a result of the Knights’ inability to execute their game plan.
“Confidence, or the lack of it was our biggest issue today,” Smith said.
“Collectively as a team we moved away form our principles.
“The fundamentals of rugby league- competing sets with your own ball helps you get into the game and I think in the first half we were seven mistakes, so nearly half of our possession we gave to them.
“It didn’t get us off to a good start and then our confidence was a big issue.
“We were chasing ourselves the whole way through.
“What happened today I think is they turned into individuals and tried to do things on their own and it doesn’t work that way.
“That’s probably where we got hurt the most.
“You can’t go away from the processes that put you in good stead for rugby league."
Despite the loss, Smith said he has full faith the side can come back stronger against the Manly Sea Eagles after an extended break.
“We have some work to do and might need to change it up a little bit for these guys,” he said.
“We’ll give them a good weekend off so they can go away and probably not think about football too much.
“At the end of the day we are asking a fair bit of these guys with five or six days a week training.
“They have educational or work commitments and turn up to football every week and play.
“Eight weeks in we are at 50 per cent.
“The weekend off probably doesn’t come at a bad time. It gives us the opportunity to do a little bit of work this week."
For many of the players, Saturday's match will remain a memorable one for more special reasons.
The Round 8 game at Hunter Stadium was played on ANZAC Day with the Club holding a commemorative service before first grade kick-off.
“I saw a few of them at the Dawn service this morning, that obviously means something to them,” Smith said.
“It was a big occasion.”
“It was very inspirational and we have a lot of respect for the war veterans and people who gave their lives for us,” Levi added.
“We went in thinking big things, but it didn’t quite go our way today.”
Meanwhile, three of the NYC Knights have been selected to represent their country during the Representative Round.
“I think it’s due reward to how our first five or six games went this year,” Smith said.
Danny Levi has been called up to play hooker for the Junior Kiwis for the second time while twin brothers Jacob and Daniel Saifiti will take their place in the Rick Stone coached Fiji Bati.
“Both Saifitis were in outstanding form and Danny Levi has trained in the off season with the first grade side and has continued his form in the last couple of weeks where he’s actually played for us,” he said.
“It’s a great team reward because without this team, those boys don’t get that recognition.
“With a bit of luck that experience will be good for them and they will come back and will bring that back into our side.”