Newcastle captain Kurt Gidley was bluntly honest in his assessment of the Knights' eighth loss in nine games, saying the team was "letting everyone down".
With the outlook of Gidley's final season at the club looking grimmer by the week, the skipper said the team understood the importance of Saturday's 44-22 loss to Canberra – a missed opportunity to head into next week's first bye weekend of the season on a positive note.
"None of the 17 of us would accept [our performance against Canberra], I thought we let our fans down and we let ourselves down for sure," Gidley said post-game.
"This was an important one leading into the bye because we haven't had a good couple of months probably now.
"We spoke about the differences if we won out there compared to a loss and for sure there's pressure on us now. To come out and start the game the way we did and for our coach to say we were lethargic to start a game at home, it's a fairly big disappointment."
Their lethargic start was the beginning of the end for Newcastle, who conceded three tries in the game's opening 20 minutes, and coach Rick Stone offered no excuses.
"I know we are a few troops down and we actually have a few boys playing wounded that played in Howzo [Chris Houston] and Kade Snowden, which isn't ideal, but that's what it is," Stone said.
"It can be real cruel in the NRL when you get to that stage and you're down a bit on confidence and you're down a little bit on resolve and definitely on personnel. It can really kick you in the teeth."
The bad news continues for Newcastle with forward Jack Stockwell possibly out for the season after injuring his bicep and prop David Fa'alogo suffering a hamstring strain.
With the Knights already missing halves Tyrone Roberts and Jarrod Mullen as well as back-rowers Robbie Rochow and Jeremy Smith, Stockwell's injury is another untimely blow for Stone's men especially with the former Dragon starting to hit some good form in recent weeks.
"Jack has some sort of a tear in his bicep. We're not quite sure if it's a full rupture or what the scenario is – we'll have to get scans to confirm what's going on there," Stone said.
"If it's a full rupture then it will need to be reattached, depending on the size of the tear I suppose will determine the course of action."
The one positive to come out of the day was the news veteran lock Smith had re-signed for another year to see out his career in Knights colours.
Currently out with a sternum injury and set to return in Round 15 against Cronulla, Smith is the second oldest player in the competition but his retention is an important one considering the club will be without Gidley and NSW Origin back-rower Beau Scott in 2016.
"There is a bit of a gamble at his age but losing Kurt and probably Beau [Scott] may have tipped the scales in our retention committee and we spoke about that," Stone said.
"We still believe he has plenty to add to our culture. He's a terrific competitor, he's a winner and he's sorely missed at the moment and you can see that out there. He makes a significant difference so having him back after the bye will be helpful."