A beaming Newcastle Knight Mickey Paea said his maiden match in the red and blue lived up to his expectations at Hunter Stadium on Saturday night.
While the journeyman knows what it’s like to be on the other side of the fence playing in Newcastle, he was thrilled to experience the electric atmosphere and passionate support shown from the Club’s fans when the side came up against the Canberra Raiders on home turf.
“It was good to have my first taste at home and the fans are awesome. They got behind us, especially when we were down 18-6,” he said in the sheds after the game.
“The boys showed a lot of fight and it was a step in the right direction for us.
“It’s probably one, that at the end of the day, we could have won, but we were unlucky with a few tries.
“It was a good game and had everything in it, but at the end of the day it was bitter sweet.”
Paea played 31 minutes off the bench and achieved 123 metres in attack during the 24-24 draw against the Canberra Raiders.
Although disappointed not to gain two competition points, the effort-filled game set the bar for the young team.
“It’s good for our playing group because we can build off this,” he said.
“We will go back to the drawing board on Monday and will start building for our next game.
“(Coach Nathan) Browny puts a big emphasis on that. What we lack in experience, he doesn’t want us to get beaten in the little effort areas.
“It’s not a skill thing and he really drums that into us.
“Today it was a step in the right direction as I don’t think we lost in the little effort areas.”
Paea had a special mention for the newest of the Newcastle Knights, Cory Denniss who made his debut on the wing on Saturday.
“It was outstanding," Paea said.
“Apart from the two tries he scored, he came in early and had a few tough carries.
“Good on him, I’m sure he’ll remember that game for a very long time.”