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The nib Newcastle Knights Round 3 loss to the South Sydney Rabbitohs could have been a different story if they had played a bit smarter, according to forward Luke Yates.

Despite a courageous first half, the Knights couldn’t contain a solid Rabbitohs outfit, going down 24-18.

“There were many errors during the game... It was definitely a game we could have won,” said Yates in the sheds after the match.

But the 21-year-old admits the team showed plenty of fight out on the field.

“I think the back end showed how much we were committed to compete as a team and as a Club so it was a lot better than we’ve done in the past against the Rabbitohs,” Yates added.

“We had the win in the first half and we came in at 12-10 which was pleasing.

“We thought, if we can come in on top in the first half then we could maybe run away with it but the way we played in the second half, we lost it for ourselves.”

In just his third NRL match, Yates believes the South Sydney side have been one of the toughest so far.

“They wrestle and the way they find the ground is definitely one of the toughest teams I’ve played,” Yates explained.

“It was a massive step up to verse some of their big guys, like Sam Burgess and those boys, but I’m relatively happy with my game.

“We had a big target on Adam Reynolds but they got us on the back foot so we couldn’t get too much kick pressure on him so he had a field day on us.

“That was a bit disappointing although Brendan (Elliot) did a great job out the back, we just could have helped him out a lot more.”

Yates believes the key to improvement for Round 4 is ball control.

“Getting rid of those silly errors and penalties which aren’t necessary, if we can hold on to the ball and complete a bit better, we can compete with anyone,” Yates said.

The Knights head down to Sydney to take on the Penrith Panthers at Pepper Stadium this Friday.