Struggling Knights a 'fragile team': Bennett

Newcastle Knights mentor Wayne Bennett described his team as "fragile" following their 32-10 loss to the Penrith Panthers on Sunday – their third straight defeat.

While a clearly disappointed Bennett said Newcastle's effort at different stages of the game was visible, he couldn't help but mention his team's fragility when push came to shove.

"Typical losing team's attitude at the time you have a handling error and give a penalty away and you get scored on," he said.

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"That's the one thing the top teams don't do. We all mistakes but teams that are mentally strong don't do that and we're fragile and we've doing it all season. You could almost write the script for it.

"We are a pretty fragile footy team. So we do things that make us even more fragile and until we can start to win a few of those battles [things won't improve] ... but not much execution at different stages when it was important means we just have to stay at it.

"We don't have an alternative. There's enough quality in the place it's just a case of not losing confidence."

While there were very few highlights for the struggling Knights, who must face the reality of only mustering two wins from nine games this season, their coach noted there were stages in the game where his side played well – declaring the Knights never gave up.

"It's a tough period, there's no doubt about that, but up until the last try this afternoon when they scored right on full-time, I thought the one thing we had done pretty well all arvo is that we didn't give up and there was plenty of reasons to give up," Bennett said.

"In the second half for example we started great, we started great first half, and five or six minutes into that second half they picked up a try from a crazy pass and then all of a sudden we were on the back foot again trying to get back into the game.

"The first half was the same. We started great. We scored the first try and then we couldn't complete the kick-off set which put us under pressure."