Knights coach Wayne Bennett doesn't believe his side is playing poorly, despite a horror back-to-back losses start to their 2014 campaign that sees them rooted to the bottom of the NRL ladder.
Bennett concedes his troops were outgunned by the Anthony Milford show – Milford playing a key influence in the Canberra Raiders 26-20 victory – yet Bennett doesn’t seem at all concerned.
“We haven’t played badly... tonight we played a quality game of football,” Bennett said.
“There was two points in it until the last moment of the game.”
While not singling out the referees as a reason for his side's loss, Bennett pointed out that luck was a decisive factor in their defeat.
“There were a couple of [tough calls] in the game – there’s not a lot of luck going our way,” Bennett said.
“[The penalties and discipline] wouldn’t have helped but I wasn’t too concerned about it in the sense that they weren’t deliberate... the referees were onto us a little bit more than the other team, they found a bit more fault with us than the opposition.
“I’ve got lots of encouraging things but I’d like to see a bit more luck play its part with us as well – there were three or four things in my opinion tonight that was lineball stuff that didn’t go our way and in a tight game like that it makes the difference.”
Knights captain Kurt Gidley concurred with his coach, agreeing that the effort is there but that there was still a lot to process heading into the Knights' Round 3 clash against the Melbourne Storm next Monday night.
“There’s plenty of effort that’s for sure over the last couple of weeks,” Gidley said.
“There’s plenty of effort in defence, there’s plenty of talk out there. We need a few things to go our way and it’s one of those momentum things we need to swing the other way.”
In what was a positive for the Knights, both Bennett and Gidley were pleased with the debut of fullback Matt Minto – the off-season signing proving he’s got what it takes to handle the big league.
“I thought [Minto] was really good, it’s not easy playing NRL for the first time at fullback and I thought he handled it well,” Bennett said.
Gidley agreed, noting: “[Minto] did a pretty good job. Obviously ‘Darbs’ [Darius Boyd] has been our fullback for the past couple of years so it takes a bit of time coming in for your first go.”