A brutally honest Kurt Gidley has slammed his side's performance and was devastated by Newcastle's 30-28 loss to the Cronulla Sharks.
Leading by 10 points at two different stages of the game, the Knights were blown away by a six minute period in the second half where the Sharks scored three tries to gain the ascendency in their eventual two-point win.
Falling to their fourth-straight loss and ninth defeat in their past 10 games, Gidley lashed out at his team's "unacceptable" performance and couldn't bring himself to come up with a reassuring message to the Knights faithful.
"I wasn't comfortable in thanking them for their support. Like I appreciate our fans support. I don't want my words taken the wrong way there, because we need their support – they just deserved better than that," Gidley said post-game.
"I didn't feel comfortable waving to them and thanking them today because I wasn't happy with our performance in the second half.
"How much more motivation do we need? We're playing at home, we're up by 10 and we achieved some of the things we wanted to achieve in the first half. But the second half, it was an embarrassment. That's the toughest [loss] to cop, that's for sure."
Embattled Knights coach Rick Stone shared the same sentiments as his captain.
With fans becoming increasingly frustrated with the team's performances of late, Stone said it was a matter of his club being less delicate moving forward.
"I'm as frustrated as the fans with their concentration lapses. That's the biggest issue we've got. But at the end of the day, we've got to be mentally less fragile than we are at the moment because that's what we're showing," Stone said.
"It's not an easy road. We've got a couple of decent forwards that aren't playing and we've got a 19-year-old fella making his debut. We're not crying over that. It's a tough environment to learn because it's pretty relentless.
"In saying that, it's not acceptable from what we're managing at the moment and how much resilience we're showing, considering this place is built on where it started with [inaugural coach] Alan McMahon."
Gidley went on to add his displeasure with the referees' failure to blow a penalty for an apparent high shot on Knights fullback Jake Mamo by Jeff Robson with a minute remaining in the game.
While Gidley said his side shouldn't have been chasing the game that late to begin with, it didn't stop him from voicing his disapproval of the matter.
"I don't think there's a grey area anymore. If you get hit in the face – and Jake clearly did, he had a bleeding nose at the end of it and he was knocked around – it's a penalty," Gidley said.
"Look, we shouldn't have been in that position that we needed a penalty on the last play of the game, that's for sure. But there isn't a grey area in there anymore.
"As a player, whether they're falling or not, if there's a swinging arm to the head or to the face, you've just got to cop the [penalties]."