Coach Nathan Brown and captain Jamie Buhrer spoke to the media following Sunday's Round 26 loss to the Cronulla Sharks.
“Our effort, commitment and the way we competed was super,” said Brown.
“Our first 20 minutes of both halves, some poor basic errors put us under some pressure and there were some periods of that game that showed how far we’ve come but it also showed where the young guys have got to grow again.
“While we weren’t quite good enough, I think our effort, our toughness and the way we competed in defence actually changed the game.
“At the end of the day, they were just a little bit classier.”
With the season at an end, the Knights coach maintained there has been massive improvement from his young players.
“Last year we played Cronulla twice and I think they beat us 100 to six and this year we lost by a point and lost by eight so that’s a pretty good indication of our improvement,” explained Brown.
“The younger kids have still got a lot of growth in them and to become good seasoned, hardened first graders, which along with another pre-season, will go a long way to helping that.”
One young forward in particular, on debut, impressed Brown.
“Tyrone Amey was outstanding…. his effort and commitment was super and the plan was for him to go on for a short stint and get Jacob (Saifiti) back on but he was going really well and we left him out there,” Brown stated.
“We were really proud of his effort and he’s a kid, bit like Luke Yates, that has dreamt of playing for the Knights his whole life and I think he showed that when he went out there.
“Tyrone is a great trainer and we saw today what sort of commitment and effort he put in.”
Brown was also impressed by the 20,000-strong crowd that supported the Knights on Sunday.
“I couldn’t believe when (CEO Matt) Gidley was saying the ticket sales had been the best they’d been all year,” smiled Brown.
“I know it’s Old Boys Day and the Knights do it better than anyone but to get over 20,000 people when you’re playing for your third consecutive spoon and playing a side which no one gave us a chance of beating, is unbelievable.
“Now with Wests taking over, the Club has got big scope to become a power Club because you have a fan base that’ll turn up under those circumstances and with Wests you have a powerful organisation.
“With the recruits we’ve got coming and the age of our squad and the growth, we should all be excited about the coming years for the Knights.”
Captain Jamie Buhrer agreed Old Boys Day saw a phenomenal show of support from Members and fans.
“It was unbelievable and it was everything I was told it would be and a bit more,” smiled Buhrer.
“Just the emotion and the occasion, the town…. it is all combined into one and is a big family Club that is built from the ground up.
“To see where the Club has gone from November last year to where we sit now, I can say with confidence, if we had another five or six games left in the season, I don’t think we’d get the wooden spoon and that’s why I think there is a bit more optimism around.
“There is some excitement gathering for next year with all the experience the young boys have garnered and we’ve got some great recruits coming so it’s time to have a rest but I’m not the only one who is itching for November 1 and the new year to roll around.”
Meanwhile Brown has praised the Knights Reserve Grade side for making the semi-finals and NYC for qualifying for finals footy, after two big wins on Sunday.
“Reserve Grade had a good win and we’ve taken a fair few of their players with the squad we have at the back end of the year,” said Brown.
“Todd Lowrie has done a great job with the 20s and to beat Cronulla, which are minor premiers, was a great result.”