With Jarrod Mullen ruled out due to injury, veteran utility Kurt Gidley moved into five-eighth with Sione Mata'utia shifting to centre and Gagai to fullback.
“I tried to take a little bit of pressure off Sione when I knew Kurt was going to play in the halves, so put Dane there,” Stone said following the match.
“I thought Dane was really good actually.
“He made a couple of little errors but over all for his first game I think he was good.
“He looked dangerous and was sharp and continues to compete in whatever position you put him in.
“He’s a real shining light for us at the moment.”
With the 24-year-old embracing the challenge, young Mata’utia was given the opportunity to play in his natural position.
“Sione hasn’t been really comfortable at fullback and I tried to give him the chance to play in a position he’s a little bit more comfortable in," Stone added.
“He’s an 18-year-old fella and still has a bit to learn in the NRL and we all understand that.
“He’s got a long way to go in his career.
“That’s one game he’ll take some positives and some negatives away from and will be better for it the next time he plays.”
Whether the coach sticks with this line-up with depend on Mullen's meeting with a specialist on Monday.
"Jarrod sees a specialist tomorrow so we will know more then," Stone told the media.
“He's obviously a key part of the team and missing him today was a definite inherit of the performance of the team.
“You just have to play with who you’ve got.
“There’s no use crying over spilt milk and have to pick what you think the best team is each week and get them out there and make sure you give them the best shot.
“It is getting a bit frustrating because we are seeing the same consistent common denominators come up about some defensive resolve.
“It’s something we had pretty well sorted in the first couple of games.
“At the moment when we are on our line with that desperation and decision making and that confidence that was there so early in the season isn't there anymore.
“It’s hard work and it’s about probably trying to establish combinations.
“We have had a couple of injuries which has probably forced the hand but Manly have had the same.
“They’ve had plenty of injuries so we’re not making excuses about injuries.”
The Knights return to Hunter Stadium in Round 10, hosting the Wests Tigers at Hunter Stadium on Sunday May 17.