Disenchanted Newcastle forward Robbie Rochow has described last Sunday's devastating loss to the Titans as the story of their season with the Knights now next to no chance of making a late run to the finals.
While the Knights were bound to celebrate their RiseForAlex Round fixture in style with the injured forward watching on from the ground, Newcastle put forward a flat performance that sees them sit at 14th on the competition ladder.
"The boys are just really disappointed," Rochow told NRL.com. "It is still good to have Alex around but we have had this feeling too much this year and we're just overall disappointed really."
With Hunter Stadium bouncing with its highest attendance of the season, Rochow described his excitement of playing the game but said poor execution took the wind out of the Knights' sails when it mattered.
"It has been the most excited for a game I have been all year really, but when you don't compete and when you drop that much ball it takes the energy straight out of you," Rochow said.
"When we finally had a bit of possession we executed so poorly because we had so many drop balls and it was as simple as that."
While emotion was high throughout the stadium, Rochow admitted it didn't affect his own performance adding there was no extra motivation for the back-rower in comparison to any other game throughout the regular season.
"I can't speak on behalf of the other players but we have had more emotional games than [the Titans] especially the next few after the [McKinnon incident], they were more emotional and even then we played better back then what we did on the weekend. I just wanted to do my job," Rochow said.
While Rochow wasn't prepared to comment on how the short turnaround may influence the team's performance against the Sydney Roosters on Friday night, the East Maitland Griffins junior did outline his own personal goals for the remainder of the season with coach Wayne Bennett set to depart and the finals now out of reach.
"I want to improve as a player and make the most of my time with this playing group. In rugby league you have limited time with certain players and we have a lot of quality and a lot of experience in our squad," Rochow said.
"I want to make the most of our time together so I want to play well each week for the boys and obviously the coach and everyone else."