Stone threatens to wield the axe
After his side dropped their third-straight game against the Eels on Sunday, disappointed Newcastle Knights coach Rick Stone said a few of his players were on the brink of getting dropped for their clash with the Cowboys on ANZAC Day.
While he refused to name names until he was able to watch the game more carefully, Stone said some of his players were quickly losing their right to call themselves NRL players after their third-straight loss.
"I don't want to talk about too many individuals at the moment but the last couple of weeks having made the errors we have, we haven't been given ourselves a chance [to win]," Stone said after Sunday's game.
"The bottom line is you can't continue making the same basic errors every week and expect to be an NRL player or call yourself an NRL player.
"It's hard enough in the NRL as it is. We are lacking the composure and control needed currently.
"There are certain expectations and certain limits on what you can and can't take so there's probably a few on the limit for sure."
Stone was less than impressed with what he labelled Newcastle's "dumb errors".
With Newcastle producing 14 errors to the Eels' five, and holding 53 per cent of possession in the meantime, Stone said Newcastle's failure in the first half to capitalise on the strong wind behind their backs at Hunter Stadium proved costly.
While they scored twice on either side of halftime, the Eels' three tries – including two grubbers from Chris Sandow and a soft Nathan Peats try from dummy-half – in the second half were vital for Parramatta, who snapped a two-game losing streak with their win.
"Obviously it was hard work running into the breeze today [in the second half] but I reckon we could've made more of our good possession and position in the first half to score a few more points," Stone said.
"We can't complain though, we had every chance to win the game. We came up with some unforced errors when we are under the pump so we need to improve our composure under pressure.
"We started off pretty well and scored a few decent tries but we lost our way a little bit in good territory with our dumb errors."
Unfortunately the news doesn't get much better for Newcastle fans with Stone pointing out influential back-rower Beau Scott is "unlikely" to return from his ankle ligament damage in time to face the Cowboys next round.