While the Newcastle Knights were defeated by the Sydney Roosters at Hunter Stadium on Sunday, it wasn’t without a fight from the men in red and blue.
Trailing 26-nil at half time and 32-nil just after the break, the Knights fought back to get within ten points before the Roosters clinch victory with fives minutes to play.
“You don’t mind a team beating you, but when you beat yourself at times there’s nothing worse when you’re playing this game,” interim coach Danny Buderus assessed after the match.
“When you make a mistake, then make another one, the possession rate goes and the next thing your on the back foot and you have no energy to defend.
“When you have a team like the Roosters coming at you like that, probably 26 points is a score you’re going to get.
“The fighting qualities in the second half, I couldn’t have been more proud of them.
“It’s just too hard to claw anything back from that scenario… there was a bit of pride there for them.”
The task got harder for an already injury-depleted Knights when the bench was reduced to two when Tyler Randell (eye) and Beau Scott (foot) were forced from the field at half time.
“What we did have left on the bench was only two blokes… and Kurt (Gidley) was a little bit crook as well,” Buderus added.
“That’s the season that we’re having, you just have to patch them up and get them out there and they did a fine job.”
The coach was buoyed by the second half comeback and believes it bodes well for the future.
“I expressed to the boys that we do have a pulse, there is a pulse there,” Buderus explained.
“There are a lot of young guys in there that are hurting and I don’t want them to get used to this losing habit, that’s the biggest thing.
“They really take it personally and on board, that’s a good thing, but you want to harness that as I want to keep my standards high.
“There’s the nucleus of really good squad there in the next couple of years and these guys are learning and going through this process now and in three or four years time they will be leaders and won’t want to go down into these performances I’m sure.”
Buderus had particular praise for captain Kurt Gidley and young centre Sione Mata’utia.
“I thought Sione was fantastic today, that’s a really big step in the right direction for him,” the interim coach said.
In injury news, Kade Snowden (concussion) is expected to be available next week however Randell and Scott will be assessed through the week.
Next up for the Knights is a Sunday afternoon clash at Campbelltown Stadium against the Wests Tigers.