Despite a 22-point defeat by the Brisbane Broncos on Friday night, coach Rick Stone was pleased the way the Newcastle Knights stayed in the match despite a number of setbacks.
There were a number of players sidelined due to injury going into the match, as well as the suspension of Kade Snowden, but then the visitors lost two key forwards midway through the first half.
“The effort was great, there’s no doubt about it, considering we lost our two back-rowers in the first 20 minutes, which didn’t make things easier,” Stone said after the match.
Beau Scott injured his shoulder, and will need scans when the team returns to Newcastle on Saturday while Robbie Rochow broke his arm.
“We had a fairly young bench, an inexperienced bench, a bench that hasn’t played a lot of time in the NRL, so we had to try and manage that as good as possible,” Stone added.
“We made plenty of errors still, which made it tough for us. Five errors in a row at 20-nil, it’s a tough place to come back from, but I thought we did okay from there.
“We lost a little bit in that last bit but overall we competed really hard and we wanted to play for each other, which I think was evident.”
Captain Kurt Gidley agreed errors again cost his side against the competition leaders.
“We haven’t been defending our errors, and it is something we speak about each week, and that’s defending an error or a penalty, and we’re just not resilient enough to do that at the moment,” Gidley said.
Gidley felt like the Knights let slip an opportunity after they got back within four-points in the second half.
“We made a few errors tonight but there was a period in the second half when I grabbed all the boys after we scored, Danny (Levi) scored out of dummy-half, and I really felt the momentum had shifted at that stage and we had it," he added.
“We needed to up the ante. Like any team with the momentum, you need to kick it up another level, and we made a mistake that set and I think that was another turning point in the game where it went downhill again.”
The Knights have a bye in Round 17 before resuming in Round 18 to take on the Canberra Raiders in Canberra.