Knights centre Dane Gagai stretches the Brisbane defence at Hunter Stadium on Friday night. Credit: Col Whelan/NRL Photos
Newcastle Knights captain Kurt Gidley expressed complete shock following his side's 32-6 loss to the Brisbane Broncos on Easter Friday.
Gidley said he still had belief that the Knights could win the game, even when his side was down 16-6 at halftime, before noting that the scoreline didn't reflect the nature of the game.
"It is a bit of a shock at the moment. Even at halftime I didn't think the scoreline reflected what we had done in the first half. We were held up a few times and we got repeat sets and we were building pressure early in the game which is what you want," Gidley said in the press conference after the game.
"I didn't really feel like the scoreline reflected what we had done in the first half and I still really believe in what we were doing, so there's a bit of shock there sitting in the dressing room at the moment with the scoreline... and I guess they were a lot more desperate in defence, certainly in goal line defence."
While Gidley believed that his side were putting the right plays forward, testament to their four opportunities held up over the try-line, the captain emphasised that the Knights need to find momentum or risk becoming irrelevant in premiership reckoning.
"We were getting over the line so we were putting the right plays on but like I said they were more desperate with the amount of guys they got around the footy," Gidley said.
"It's almost one step forward and two steps back. We certainly can't go around kicking stones or with our heads down. We need to work out what we have to do to improve. Momentum's a big thing in our game and we haven't got that at the moment."
Veteran Knights coach Wayne Bennett examined the game in a similar light to his captain, expressing that it was a high-standard game that didn't go his team's way.
"It was a quality game of football. It was just the scoreboard that got lopsided there – we didn't deserve that from our point of view anyway," Bennett said.
"We controlled the ball pretty well. We didn't throw it away – late in the game we did a little bit up until 60 minutes. We completed 18 from 19 sets in the first half.
"We had opportunities and when we got to the try-line four times we got held up so it's not like we didn't cross the line."
In what was a bright spot in an otherwise dull night for Newcastle, Bennett was pleased with the debut of 19-year-old winger Jake Mamo – whose form in the Knights' undefeated Holden Cup side has been sensational.
"I thought he was pretty confident – he did a good job. It wasn't easy out there for him against the quality footy team that he was playing against. He showed us that he's got a pretty bright future," Bennett said.