Newcastle Knights coach Rick Stone believes his side deserves a pass mark for their year and he hopes it’s enough for him to continue as a NRL coach.
The Knights’ 18-8 qualifying final loss to the Storm was his last game in charge of the NRL club, with super-coach Wayne Bennett taking over for 2012.
The decision to replace Stone with the current Dragons coach was made back in April and Stone earned plenty of praise for steering his side into the finals despite being a dead man walking.
“I suppose top eight’s a pass mark but, considering the obstacles that were placed in our paths this year, I think we’ve handled it pretty well,” Stone said.
The 44-year-old, who will be an assistant to Bennett, said he hoped his head coaching career wasn’t over.
“Hopefully, I’ll get another chance at some stage. I’ve enjoyed it, I think I’m up to it and I think the boys have responded pretty well to me in the two years I’ve been head coach.”
Newcastle skipper Kurt Gidley quickly chimed in at the post-match media conference to support his mentor.
“I want to say publicly about how well Stoney’s handled himself this year with everything that went on,” Gidley said in reference to the drawn-out ownership change and coaching speculation.
“He’s probably one of the most humble guys I’ve come across and he puts in so much time and effort into the team, I’ve got a lot of respect for him.”