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Raiders coach Ricky Stuart during his side's 24-all draw with the Knights.

Raiders coach Ricky Stuart refused to acknowledge the club's 24-all draw with the Knights on Saturday afternoon was cause to feel "empty".

Up 16-0 after 30 minutes, the Knights slowly chipped away and eventually found themselves in the lead with nine minutes remaining, a 78th minute Raiders try courtesy of Brenko Lee sending the game into golden point.

"If I thought we had given up, if I thought we had lacked effort or anything like that – it would be an empty feeling," Stuart said post-game.

"But I think we did an extremely courageous tough job in that second half to hang in there. Our defence was amazing though full credit to the way Newcastle came back."

Naming Elliott Whitehead at five-eighth to partner Sam Williams in the halves, Stuart said any competition points are valuable with Blake Austin (knee) and Aidan Sezer (eye socket) still on the shelf.

"I'll take one point any day when we're only playing with one halfback," Stuart said.

"When you're winning games, and also getting a point here, when you're winning without [Austin and Sezer] – that's just bonuses for us. 

"Don't take any credit away from Sam. What Sammy Williams is doing at the moment is playing for two halves. He's doing a wonderful job. His kicking game has been magic. 

"Unfortunate he was with a couple of those field goals but they were always going to be difficult with that southerly."

Skipper Jarrod Croker's decision to opt for a penalty goal in the 84th minute, 52 metres out from the uprights, wasn't a moment of concern for Stuart either.

"If he would have kicked it, you would've been singing his praises," he said. 

"He'd be on the front page tomorrow. Let's not dwell on it too much."

Croker added: "If can't back myself, who can I back? In hindsight it might have been a bit different if we kicked for touch but hindsight is a lovely thing."

Otherwise Stuart was most pleased with the Raiders' professional approach to the game considering Newcastle's poor opening fortnight to the year.

"Credit to my guys they have had people patting on them back telling them they were going to win by 40 and we'll be 3-0 after this weekend. But they let that fly by," Stuart said.

"We jumped straight into our review at the beginning of the week, and the boys had a very professional approach towards this game. I knew Nathan [Brown] would have [Newcastle] up for their first game at home. 

"They're a very proud club and they did a good job."

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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