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Stone’s New Role

Vodafone Fiji Bati coach Rick Stone is now the Newcastle Knights head coach. His appointment was announced yesterday and it will be for two years. Fiji National Rugby League (FNRL)
12 Aug 2014 17:38
Stone’s New Role
Scene of the crash

Vodafone Fiji Bati coach Rick Stone is now the Newcastle Knights head coach.

His appointment was announced yesterday and it will be for two years.

Fiji National Rugby League (FNRL) development manager Joe Rabele said Stone has done a lot for Fiji during his term.

“Rick came to coach Fiji as a volunteer,” he said.

“At that time he was Wayne Bennett’s assistant coach and despite his busy schedule Rick always had the time to come to Fiji and assist us especially when the World Cup was getting closer.

“I had the privilege of working with him as the assistant coach and had learned a lot from him.”

Bati manager Mesake Navugona said Stone always uphold professionalism in the team.

“When it comes to work, its real work and Rick does not joke around. I admire the way he works right from the drawing board to the ground and back. He will spend hours analysing the opposition and at the same time draw up the game plan. I will miss working with him.”

Navugona said Stone was the Knights coach before he stepped aside for the legendary Wayne Bennett to take over.
Stone will take over from Wayne Bennett at season’s end, following Bennett’s decision to join Brisbane in 2015.
“Rick has a thorough knowledge of our club and the community, which are qualities we felt important in the head coach position,” Knights chief executive Matt Gidley. “We look forward to Rick continuing to focus his energies on our current NRL team, and also our NSW Cup team as they move towards the finals later in the year.”

Stone joined the club in 2006, originally as an assistant to Michael Hagan and then Brian Smith. He took over the top job in 2009 when Smith left, before returning to assistant in 2012 under Bennett.

“It’s great to get another chance to coach the Knights because it’s not often you get a second opportunity to coach at the same club,” the 47-year-old said.

“We have some exciting times ahead with some great young juniors coming through this year and some more talent not too far away from playing NRL.”

Stone had been strongly tipped to replace Bennett, who last month signed a three-year deal with the Brisbane Broncos.  Stone thanked former owner Nathan Tinkler, Hunter Sports Group boss Troy Palmer and Bennett for allowing him to stay at the club the past few seasons.

“I have learnt a lot over the last three years and know it puts me in a good position to take the Knights forward,” he said.

Feedback:  ajeshr@fijisun.com.fj

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