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It was a strong display ahead of the 2017 season when the nib Newcastle Knights beat the Canberra Raiders 44-0 on Saturday, and coach Nathan Brown said it was the cohesiveness of the side that pleased him most.

“We’re obviously pleased with the result, and pleased that everybody had some kind of positive contribution,” he said in a press conference on Tuesday morning.

“I was happy with what everyone did collectively.”

Leading by 30 points at half time, the Knights weathered an early storm from the Raiders on their own line, but never looked like losing once they’d scored.

“We’ve looked at a number of things in our game in both offence and defence and we thought we saw some good improvements,” Brown said.

“But the proof will be in when the competition starts and we’re playing full-strength sides.”

The coach was keen to stress the fact that the Raiders side was not at full strength, although he noted that their starting forward pack was largely intact.

“In the first half they still had a lot of their best forwards playing and their two halves and hooker as well,” he said.

“On the other hand we’re also quite aware that Canberra had two or three of those very good outside backs not playing and Sia Soliola and Joe Tapine didn’t play either.”

Regardless of who was out on the field, Brown said a win was good for the confidence of the younger players in the team.

“They’ve got to take some confidence out of it,” he added.

“Obviously last year the Raiders were the best attacking team in the competition.”