Coach Nathan Brown and Jeremy Smith reflected on the Newcastle Knights’ Round 1 loss against the Gold Coast Titans in the post match press conference on Sunday night.
While the Knights did not achieve their goal of a season opening win, Brown believes positives could still be extracted from the match which was played in wet conditions at Cbus Super Stadium.
“In the first half, I think we competed really well,” Brown said.
“But they were able to manage the game a lot better than us.
“We never really rewarded ourselves for our hard work.”
Errors proved costly for the Knights who struggled to build momentum in the Round 1 game.
“Every time we worked really hard to give ourselves a chance of getting in the game, then we’d come up with a poor error or a poor penalty,” he added.
“To go in at 12-6 at half time, I thought they’d fought pretty hard to get there.
“Then just after half time we never had the ball.
“As a group, that’s what we have to work out."
Smith agreed with Brown and felt the lack of possession caused by errors hurt the Knights’ chances to recover.
“We backed ourselves to get back into the game, but lack of ball and good ball situations made it pretty tough,” Smith said.
“You just have to hang in there and keep turning up for each other, and the tide will change eventually, and when it does you have to pounce.”
Despite the challenges, Brown was pleased with the way the team operated with a large number of debutants featuring in the line-up.
“There are a lot of positives there. We had some older players that competed really hard as individuals and then we had some younger kids who did really well,” Brown said.
“With the circumstances and the amount of possession we had, it certainly wasn’t all negative."
Brown was pleased with the efforts of a number of Knights who stepped up to the NRL for the first time and performed well given the challenging weather.
“It was a tough day at the office for any fullback with the conditions. Jaelen (Feeney) had some really good parts of his game and had some parts of his game that he can do a fair bit better,” he said.
“Pat Mata’utia had some really solid stuff."
Meanwhile, he expects the partnership between halves Jarrod Mullen and Trent Hodkinson to strengthen as the season progresses.
“They had some okay touches and had some good touches and there were areas of the game they will probably want to be a bit better,” Brown said.
“As a group I think we were a but rushed at times, I think we could have done a little bit better.
“I’d like to think as the team improves, they will improve.”
The Knights travel to ANZ Stadium in round two to take on the South Sydney Rabbitohs.