The reserve grade Newcastle Knights fell to the North Sydney Bears on Sunday in their round one match at Kurri Kurri Sportsground.
The Knights accrued a 12-0 lead at half time after tries from Jake Mamo and Ken Tofilau, but were unable to prevent a bombardment by the Bears in the second half that eventuated in the 28-12 score line.
“It was a game of two halves there’s no doubting that,” coach Matt Lantry said.
“It was 12 nil at half time and played reasonably well up until that point.
“We managed possession well and minimised our errors.
"Basically in the second half it was a reversal of that. North Sydney had the majority of the footy and the penalty count going their way."
The Knights lost forward Josh King late in the first half due to heat stroke and he did not return in the second stanza meaning the Knights were forced to reshuffle their line-up.
“It was really tough conditions to play in, it was 34 degrees,” he said.
“That one loss in the middle and not having the ability to rotate, our forwards in the middle third found it more difficult.
“In saying that, our second half was disappointing and we didn’t kick well.
“An area of improvement will be around our ruck defence.
“We need to be tidier than what we were.”
As the side’s transitioning NYC players gain more experience in reserve grade Lantry expects the side to produce better quality football.
“Once we get behind the eight ball, we needed to fight back,” he said.
Meanwhile, his stand out players of the match were hooker Krys Freeman and Luke Yates.
"They both gave a tremendous effort,” he added.
“They contributed both good minutes and quality with what they brought to the team.”
Mamo suffered an ankle injury in the loss and will have scans to find out the extent of his injury.