NYC coach Troy Pezet as well as players Josh King and Mathew Faitotoa discussed the side’s loss to the Penrith Panthers at Pepper Stadium on Saturday, which sees the team bow out just short of the finals.
It was never going to be an easy task for the young Knights facing up against the minor premiers, but coach Pezet was proud of the courage and effort displayed by the side, not only on Saturday but throughout the season.
“It just got a bit far away from us early in the first half. We got to 22-6 at half time, but a couple of those tries were off kicks and off our errors,” Pezet said reflecting on the side’s final game.
“We probably put ourselves under a bit of pressure there.
“At half time, we talked about the way we wanted to finish and I think we did pretty well in the back half.”
With more than half of side eligible to return to the competition next season, Pezet believes the future of the NYC Knights looks extremely bright.
“Ten out of that team today are back in NYC next year, plus we have three playing the NSW Cup semi final today that are eligible again next year,” he added.
“While it was a bit far away from us today, we’ve maintained all year that we are a development team and we have fed players to first grade at different points and NSW Cup again today.
“We haven’t finished as high as we’d have like in the competition, it’s still been a really successful year in its own right."
Pezet has taken great pleasure from witnessing the team’s youngest members develop and grow throughout the season.
“It’s been great to be able to give players like Jack Cogger and Brock Lamb the opportunity to have played a full season of U20s," Pezet said.
“This time next year they are going to be 40 game players in NYC and still have not turned 19.
“That’s all invaluable as a developing Club.”
One of the young Knights who is set to make a return to the ranks in 2016 is Mathew Faitotoa, who made his NYC debut on Saturday at Pepper Stadium.
“It was so physical, but it was a good experience for me going into next year being one of the young blokes,” Faitotoa said.
“To make my debut against them was a big challenge for me. But the boys helped me out on the field and made it easier.”
Starting in the centres, he even managed to cross the line for a try in his maiden Under 20s match.
“I was stoked, but it was all the boys’ work. I just backed up and tried to do my job,” he added.
“I’m going to try to do some good training in pre-season to cement my spot for next year’s team.
“My goal for next year is to do my best.”
It was a big day for NYC Knight Josh King who, after playing in the Under 20s Round 26 clash, warmed up with the NRL side as 18th man.
“It was difficult out there today. We’ve had a pretty upsetting season, but we have had a lot of fun and enjoyed each other’s company, so I think that’s the main thing even though we didn’t get the result at the end of the day,” King told Knights TV.
The young prop thought Mathew Faitotoa on debut performed well for the team as well as Daniel Saifiti who made good yardage in the middle.
King has been a consistent and hard working member of the Under 20s Knights and hopes to build on his progress when he makes a return to the paddock in 2016.
“It’s been tough and the most footy I’ve ever played as far as 26 weeks straight of footy, but I have really enjoyed and hopefully can go onto bigger and better things.
“I’m hoping to play some Cup games next year and the ultimate is to one day debut for grade,” he concluded.