While the NYC Knights fell hard to the top of the table Brisbane Broncos on Monday night at Hunter Stadium, development coach Craig Smith says he can’t fault the team’s preparation and effort leading into games.
Smith believes the side is ticking all the right boxes in the way of training, yet have lacked the ability of late to convert the effort when it comes to game day.
“It’s probably been something that’s been missing the last couple of weeks,” Smith told Knights TV in the sheds after Monday's match.
“Two weeks in a row now we’ve had 50 points put on us.
“It’s hard to put your finger on it.
“The young men who turn up every week and play for us have been training really well.
“I don’t think we can train them much harder.
“I just think it’s one of those things where a key ingredient in a team is missing.”
The young Knights won’t dwell on the defeat, rather, they plan to face up to the 2014 premiers, the New Zealand Warriors on Sunday.
“After games like tonight you want to dust yourself off pretty quickly, let go and move on,” he added.
“I guess the other thing is the mental state these guys find themselves in when they are losing by 50 points.
“What do you do, how do you bounce back and how do you lighten their mood and get them ready to go again when we travel again against the Warriors who are last year’s premiers?
“That’s our job as coaches and staff to get them back up.
“Hopefully we can do that. There’s another big challenge in front of us this week.
“I can assure you none of our team likes losing.”
A positive of the week was NYC team member Luke Yates signed with the Club for an additional two years.
Yates felt the Knights’ high penalty count against the Brisbane boys was a major factor in the result.
“The boys just couldn’t defend off our errors and our penalties and they ended up rolling through us pretty easily,” Yates said.
“It’s a bit of a lack of effort of set starts.
“They are big lads and come pretty hard through the middle.
“They have good halves and hooker, so they are a quality team and we just couldn’t stop it I suppose.”
The 19-year-old was proud to extend his contract with the Club after progressing through the Knights junior development system.
“I’m very happy and am really excited about it,” he said.
“It’s an honour to play in the town you were born and raised.
“Not many people get to do that and to sign for another two years is an honour for me."
After training with the NRL squad during the pre-season, the Wests junior has developed as a player and stepped up to make an appearance in the NSW Cup in Round 9.
“It was a good step up and was heaps more physical with the bigger guys,” he said.
“I would like to keep stepping up and playing at that level so I can start to be compared to the blokes playing in that squad and kick on from there.
“We just need to turn up again and just have effort on effort.
“I’ve made the shift out the back just to develop my skills out there. It’s good and I’m finding it a bit different.
“I just want to improve there.”
Meanwhile Smith said to secure young leaders like Yates at the Club is a pleasing sign.
“The quality of the young men that we have in our team, it doesn’t do them justice to get beaten like that,” he said.
“We have a lot of great guys and Luke Yates is one of them.”
“There are a number of others that in the not too distant future we’ll get to lock up and keep.
“We’ll see the fruits of that in years to come.”