Minor errors holding Newcastle back
They might be sitting at the bottom of the ladder six rounds into the Telstra Premiership season but the Newcastle Knights are playing like a side that deserves to have won more than one game in 2017.
Nathan Brown's men have been in the contest for all but one of their matches this year but only have two competition points to show for their effort.
Back-rower Mitch Barnett said his side wasn't far off chalking up their second win of the season but conceded individual errors had to be addressed to make that happen.
"It makes me hungrier to get that win," Barnett told media on Tuesday following his side's narrow last-start loss to the Bulldogs.
"Our effort's there to win and it's not changing from week to week, it's just a couple of little moments that hurt us individually.
"In the future – as in the next game – I know the boys will improve and will continue to improve. A win's not too far away and when we get one, hopefully we get a couple."
Newcastle's task doesn't get any easier with a home game against the Roosters set to test Nathan Brown's men on Good Friday.
The Knights have had their fair share of struggles against the Tricolours, managing just one from their past seven matches, including a 38-0 shellacking in their only meeting last year.
Trent Robinson's side will be keen to make up for last week's heavy loss in Brisbane, and Barnett knows stopping their formidable forward pack will be the key to victory on Friday evening.
"The football they've been playing is ridiculous," he said.
"They're a very good side – very strong and they have a big pack – but it's a test for us. We showed up against the premiers (Cronulla) and they were the best team last year and they're a great side again this year, so hopefully we can show up against the Roosters.
"We've got to win the collision and step up to their big forward pack. This week we just need to take our opportunities and stick to our game plan and we should be OK."
One thing working in Newcastle's favour is their not-so-secret weapon; McDonald Jones Stadium. The crowd support at their home base has been incredible over the years, with almost 17,000 Novocastrians turning up to support their side last week.
"I reckon in Newcastle we've got some of the best fans there are," he said. "They were vocal and it was great to hear them. We hear them out on the field and it pumps you up so hopefully we get the same turnout on Friday night."