Interim Newcastle coach Danny Buderus is expecting the Knights playing group to shoulder the blame for Rick Stone’s sacking.
Buderus has taken over the side for the final six rounds of the NRL season after Stone’s position become untenable because of their lacklustre record this year.
The club great said he wanted a reaction from the playing group after the well-liked and hard-working Stone was axed after they slumped to 13th with just six wins.
His first test will come against fellow strugglers St George Illawarra – who are on a seven-game losing streak – at Kogarah on Sunday.
“I was hopeful of getting a response out of the boys, I knew I was going to get one today,” Buderus said following his first training session in charge.
“Someone has taken a fall for the group and they’re hurting from that. I think the training was at the level we need it to be to improve and that’s what I’m after for the rest of the year – effort, commitment and intent.”
Club chief executive Matt Gidley has already stated some squad members would be playing for their positions for the rest of the season and suggested under-performing players would be moved on.
Buderus said many players would be feeling guilty about Stone’s sacking and hoped they would be looking to make amends.
“I’m still thinking like a player. My headspace coming into work today, I’d be thinking maybe I have to work really hard this week to make sure we rectify things,” he said.
“It’s disappointing all-round, that’s for sure.
“Stoney had a lot of respect in the group, no one worked harder than Stoney for the group.
“In that way they’re probably feeling like they’ve let him down. And that’s a shame because Stoney just loved this place and the group.”