Newcastle coach Nathan Brown says his team's 32-28 loss to the Dragons – after leading 28-10 at half-time – was the toughest loss of all the comebacks and close finishes in his time at the club.
Newcastle have lost after leading at half-time seven times now this year. Sunday was their fifth loss by six points or under. However Brown also praised the positive football his side conjured in a first half run of five unanswered tries as the best period of football the team has played in his 18 month tenure to date.
"That was probably the hardest one this year so far, definitely. Of all of our close ones that was the hardest one," Brown said after the game.
"Take the first 10 [minutes] out, the next 30 minutes was as good as we've played since I've been here. We executed some plays, the halves executed some plays the boys have practised at training. It was as good a 30 minutes since we've all been together.
"Most of the guys that are playing at the minute probably started on the journey last year. That was as good as I've seen us and then that 25, 30 minute period in the second half - we've been beat up a few times over the 18 months but that was as disappointed as I've been too."
Despite his disappointment, Brown was still able to find some positives and said it looked like members of his youthful squad were starting to develop into more proficient first-graders.
"Our whole starting pack [on Sunday] pretty much started playing first grade last year or this year. The whole lot of them have come through Newcastle as a local or as a kid that was brought to the club before my time.
"The Dragons have got a good pack, it's in the top four packs in the comp so to be able to do what they did in that period (scoring five first-half tries) was great.
"There's a reason why we've lost so many games this year and there's a reason why we've led at half time [then lost] and that's because whether it be physically or mentally, we're just not good enough or strong enough to play for a long enough period.
"It's not playing for 80 minutes, we can't play for 60 minutes at the moment and at the end of the day [Tyson] Frizell and [Josh] Dugan lifted and they're Test players, they're good players and we just don't have the people at the moment who can lift with them, and they got them home.
"Those two blokes, if they were on our team the score would certainly have gone our way. That's where we lacked that bit of experience, we lacked that little bit extra to be able to rise in our performance."