Penrith take blame for Knights thrashing - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Penrith take blame for Knights thrashing

Ben Horne 13/03/2011 08:26:41 PM Comments (0)

While it was Penrith's players who bumbled around on the field in their 42-8 loss to Newcastle, Panthers coach Matt Elliott said he should take the blame for the club's inept start to the new NRL season.

Penrith's second-placed finish last year seemed a world away at Centrebet Stadium on Sunday, in an embarrassing display which saw them make a whopping 21 errors and give up three penalties for being offside from kick-restarts.

The Panthers lacked intensity and seemed disinterested at times, but Elliott tried to divert the heat on his troops in the post-match press conference by taking the bullet for the seven tries to one hiding.

"When a team shows a lack of discipline that we showed today and a lack of execution collectively, the responsibility for that needs to come my way," said a disappointed Elliott post-match.

"The focus needs to be a little more on our preparation rather than what the players did out there today.

"We've got a week to make sure we get that right.

"If we don't take the lesson we're going to be in this situation again."

However, his captain Petero Civoniceva responded immediately, arguing the players were the ones who needed to take a look at themselves ahead of Friday night's local derby with Parramatta.

"In terms of attitude it was just not good enough. There is only so much the coach can do for us," he said.

"What happened on the field, there are 17 guys that are responsible for that."

While Newcastle can't get too carried away by beating a poor Panthers, the Knights can take plenty of confidence from a fluent attacking display led by halfback Jarrod Mullen, which proved there is plenty of top eight potential in the Novocastrians' side.

Coach Rick Stone couldn't have asked for a better performance first up but will be losing sleep over injuries to Neville Costigan (suspected broken arm) and captain Kurt Gidley (back spasm).

Mullen started the season with one of his most dominant efforts, scoring a try and laying on a couple of others - including one for his debutant halves partner, Beau Henry in the second half.

Knights game-breakers Junior Sau and Akuila Uate were also on their game.

Sau scored twice and Uate once, while Gidley and Hilder also got in on the action.

Stone said post-match that Gidley is a chance for round two, but things don't look so good for Costigan who is expected to miss up to two months of football.

"We were the dominant side and the score reflected the situation," said Stone.

"Probably at times Penrith made us look a little better than we were - they weren't anywhere near their best - but we've been working on a good, relentless 80-minute performance.

"We showed a few things today ... although one swallow doesn't make a summer."

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