While the nib Newcastle Knights suffered a tight 26-22 loss to the New Zealand Warriors on Sunday, it was a special outing for young forward Sam Stone.
Alongside fellow teammate Luke Yates, 19-year-old Stone got to fulfil his dream after he made his NRL debut in the season opener, coming on in the thirty-first minute of the match.
He played 17 minutes from the bench, making seven tackles, four runs and one offload.
“I think I did ok, obviously not the result we wanted but I think it’s a step in the right direction,” Stone said after the match.
In the crowd were his family and friends who travelled to Auckland to watch him take the field in the NRL competition for the first time.
“My family are very proud, especially my younger brother... he was in the sheds after the match, I think it meant a lot to people in my family,” Stone said.
Stone also mentioned his dad, former Knights coach Rick Stone was watching from England, where he’s coach of the Huddersfield Giants.
The Knights forward maintains there was a period in Sunday’s match when they let the Warriors roll over them, but is optimistic for future games.
“I think completing, there was a lot of silly errors and if we play a bit more to our structure, safer at some points and notice when the momentum shifts are going to come, I think we’ll be on track for a great season,” Stone said.
The Knights will be in action on Saturday for Round two at McDonald Jones Stadium against the Gold Coast Titans, kick-off at 3pm.