Newcastle coach Nathan Brown refused to use his side's two early disallowed tries as an excuse in the aftermath of the Knights' 26-10 loss to the Sea Eagles on Anzac Day.
Knights winger Nathan Ross was perhaps unlucky to not be awarded a four-pointer in the 14th minute, with the bunker overruling referee Gavin Badger's initial try decision by saying Ross's hand had come away from the ball as he touched down in the corner.
Three minutes later Akuila Uate was denied by the bunker in similar circumstances.
"You can look at it however you want to look at it. It wasn't the reason we didn't do a little better," Brown said post-game.
"The biggest thing for us is just learning what it's about to play first grade. We need to finish our sets off well and hold on to the ball to give ourselves a chance. Unfortunately we couldn't hang in there long enough."
Knights co-captain Jeremy Smith added: "We just had to keep turning up. Whatever the referee's calls are, he's going to stick by them."
Nine days after Newcastle were flogged 53-0 up in Brisbane, Brown was happy his Knights showed grit for the most part against the Sea Eagles.
"I thought we definitely competed. The guys matched Manly in different areas and there were times where Manly were a little better than us but look as a whole I thought we competed for the most part," Brown said.
"I thought we were the better team in the first half but at the end of the day the biggest thing we have to worry about is what we can do to control our own destiny.
"As a younger side, if we turn the ball over a bit too much then it chews a lot of juice out of a heap of guys who are still learning to play first grade footy."
The Knights – for the second week running – had to deal with a string of in-game injuries.
Brown confirmed Jarrod Mullen (hamstring) and Peter Mata'utia (knee) were set to spend long stints on the sidelines.
Of Mullen's replacement, Brown said he would have to sift through a string of potential replacements he has up his sleeve.
"We have two young halves in Jack Cogger and Brock Lamb who are very talented kids who are coming through the system," he said.
"Will Pearsall has played a bit of footy for us this year too. There's a few options there. Jaelen Feeney can play at six too.
"Either way it's going to somebody who is young, and who will get out there and do a job for us."