It was the week that Rick Stone found out that he would no longer be Knights coach, and the week Wayne Bennett was announced the new Knights coach, but this had no effect on the Knights club as they recorded a narrow 24-20 win over the Cronulla Sharks.
Despite the news that they would be under a new coach in 2012, it had no effect on the way the Knights played, as they maintained their focus, and fought out a tough win to snap their three-game losing streak.
There was some controversy towards the end however, as Sharks fullback Nathan Gardner claimed that he was taken out by Knights forward Steve Southern, as he attempted a kick and chase.
Newcastle re-gathered the ball, and the final whistle blew, meaning that the referees thought that Gardner was not taken out sufficiently in the play, hence the Knights won the game.
“I thought he got me late but you’ve just got to cop those decisions, they’re in charge so you can’t really argue with them,” Gardner said of the referees.
“Would have been good to get another set especially with a minute to go and four points down, we would have backed ourselves to get some points there but it wasn’t to be.”
Souther was also put on report for a lifting tackle on ironically, Nathan Gardner, but he claimed his innocence in this particular case.
“I don’t know, I just remember when he kicked it I just turned … it’s hard to stop. He hurt me more than I hurt him I think!,” said Southern.
“No intent to it, don’t even know how I got in between his legs, I didn’t really touch him.”
The Knights looked to have the game in the bag, but after a Sharks drop-out went into touch, the Sharks stormed back home, courtesy of a solid performance from Gardner, but it just was not enough to get them over the line.
After a week that has been somewhat stressful for Stone, and the Knights club themselves, the Knights coach was pleased to come away with the win.
“It was important for our club today absolutely, we had 11 fulltime players out, we had a bit of disruption obviously with the new coach announcement,” he said.
“I think a lot of players were waiting to see how our players were going to react. I was confident … I thought they reacted in the right fashion.”
Despite the end-of-game controversy, Sharks coach Shane Flanagan did not highlight that fact and refused to blame the ref for the loss.
“We only defended in patches, we attacked in patches,”
3 Jarrod Mullen
2 Nathan Gardner
1 Anthony Tupou