Stone looks for win to aid his survival - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Stone looks for win to aid his survival

By Steve Jancetic 01/04/2011 07:52:03 PM Comments (0)

Newcastle coach Rick Stone knows a win against the man being lined up to replace him could be the best way of ensuring his future under Nathan Tinkler's regime at the Knights.

The NRL club on Thursday night handed over ownership to the billionaire mining magnate, which has brought into question Stone's future.

Tinkler has already expressed his desire to bring NRL super coach Wayne Bennett to Newcastle to oversee the new era for the club - the Knights and Brisbane are the two most likely destinations for the most successful mentor in the game.

Stone - who has been in regular contact with both Tinkler and Tinkler Sports Group (TSG) chief executive Ken Edwards - said he was "comfortable" with his future at the club, but admits a win over the Bennett-coached St George Illawarra at Ausgrid Stadium on Sunday wouldn't hurt his chances of holding onto the job.

"If we can continue to string a few more wins together and show that we're playing attractive footy and give an indication that there's some improvement in our footy team - which I think there is - I think that's all advantageous to the whole thing," Stone told AAP.

"I'm pretty comfortable with it (the situation) - I'm doing the job to the best of my ability here and I'm proud and privileged to have that job here in Newcastle and comfortable to do that as long as someone tells me that I'm not doing it anymore."

There have been suggestions Stone and Bennett could work together at the Knights, with Bennett acting as coaching director.

But such a partnership now seems unlikely with Bennett stating his preference is retaining a hands-on role when he finishes up at the Dragons at season's end.

Edwards said TSG would work closely with the current Knights board in assessing recruitment strategies ahead of completing their takeover of the Knights within the next month.

Bennett is likely to make a call on his future over the next fortnight, with some speculation he has already committed to a two-year deal to return to the Broncos.

Stone admitted there was a sense of excitement as the club wrapped up preparations for Sunday's first home game of the year against the premiers, with Thursday night's historic vote having buoyed not only the squad but the entire Newcastle community.

A full house is expected to usher in the new era as the club opens the new western stand on Sunday and Stone is hoping the positive energy flows through to a positive result on the scoreboard.

"Obviously after the result last night there's a good vibe in the town - the players are excited and looking forward to playing on their home ground again," Stone said.

"Players are generally pretty insular when it comes to these kinds of things, but I know they've been talking about it a little bit amongst themselves the last couple of weeks.

"Kurt's (skipper Kurt Gidley) got a decent relationship with Nathan and feels that he was the right way to go - I think a few of the boys were happy to see it get across the line."

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