In the Sheds: Round 21 NRL
Knights TV chatted to debutants Nathan Ross and Lachlan Fitzgibbon as well as Joe Tapine in the sheds after their game against the St George Illawarra Dragons.
With a number of the side’s mainstays withdrawn due to injury, it provided a platform for the Club’s younger members to have their chance on the big stage of the NRL.
Nathan Ross slotted in on the wing to replace James McManus, and didn't look out of place once over the 80 minutes.
"It was a little bit faster and St George were a little bit stronger in the wrestle and contact compared to NSW Cup," Ross explained.
"The speed of the game and the intensity of the game, I felt that with playmakers like Benji Marshall and Gareth Whiddop, you just had to be on the ball at all points in time and had to be watching their movements and their centres movements because they can swing from side to side of the field.
"I’m not used to that in NSW Cup, but I guess playing internationals like that is just another stepping stone hopefully in a long career for me now."
Ross also bagged a try in his first NRL outing and his delight was clear to see in the way he celebrated with his teammates.
"You can’t get better than that, there was a little celebration for my son at the end," Ross said.
"If anyone is ever wondering what that sign is, it’s for my young fella Iziah.
"It’s also for all the fans who have come out to NSW Cup games, that come to our NRL games and continue to stick with us through these hard times.
"It’s just to let you know that try is always going to be in my heart for you guys."
After making his way through the Knights’ junior system, 21-year-old Lachlan Fitzgibbon played his maiden first grade match in the red and blue as well.
In what was a long held goal for the Novocastrian, Fitzgibbon relished his promotion to first grade.
“It was a big step up from previous years playing 20s and reserve grade but I loved every minute of it and hope I can do it again,” he said.
The emerging forward said the major difference compared to lower grades was the speed and wrestle in the game.
“It’s chalk and cheese compared to other grades,” he said.
“It’s definitely the speed. You don’t get much time to retreat and then you’re straight back up there.
The call up was an unexpected reward for the hard working young Knight and the beginning of an exciting build up to the Sunday afternoon game.
“I was speechless actually. Bedsy (Danny Buderus) called me on Friday and I had no words really and was in a state of shock and I just couldn’t wait to get out there," Fitzgibbon said.
While two early tries to the home side was a setback, the Knights fought back to take the lead into the half-time break.
It was defensive composure in the second half that cost them in the end.
“I think in the first half it was good," Tapine said, who tapped on the ball to set up the Knights' second try of the afternoon.
While Tapine was glad to be back in the side after playing in NSW Cup, he was also frustrated by the same sort of errors that have plagued the team all season.
“In the second half it was just possession and in some of the sets there were errors that affected our game," he explained.
"We just didn’t get the result at the end of the day.
"We will definitely step up with training and will just work on those little things like completing sets and our defence and will try to get a win for the fans."