Knights rally around Brock Lamb
Newcastle have thrown their support behind young half Brock Lamb after two kicks in the final stages cost the side victory over the Bulldogs on Sunday.
The 20-year-old was a late inclusion for the clash with an under-fire Jaelen Feeney omitted earlier in the week and combined well with experienced pivot Trent Hodkinson the longer the contest went on.
It was through Lamb's final attempt to kick the ball out with two minutes remaining that enabled opposite number Moses Mbye to pounce on a deflection and race 70 metres to score.
Lamb was then called upon to produce a penalty kick under immense pressure to level the scores after the siren, in which he came up well short.
The Knights showed vast improvement against the Bulldogs after their lacklustre performance a week prior but were again left devastated with the result and both coach Nathan Brown and Jamie Buhrer said the side would support Lamb over the coming days.
"That will be the part of the game where a lot of people will highlight in the loss," Knights coach Brown said of Lamb's final two minutes.
"But we had Mitch Barnett with a silly penalty in the first half that cost us two points, and when we were in control with eight minutes to go we had Danny Levi that stood in front of the referee [and was penalised].
"I can give five or six key moments where younger inexperienced guys came up with plays that a good and experienced player wouldn't come up with.
"Brock is a young kid but it was probably more the type of kick he was trying to do that was probably the wrong thing. He'll learn from that.
"They're all kids that you're hopeful from these experiences they learn that every part of the game is important."
Brown also clarified the thought process behind Lamb taking the final penalty goal attempt ahead of Hodkinson, who slotted the side's three goals earlier.
"My message was if "Hokko" thinks he's got the distance then take it," Brown said.
"[Brock] actually strikes the ball really well and obviously what happened before that probably played a part in how he struck it."
Newcastle did everything right in the second period to get themselves in the position of claiming their first away victory since 2015, but the final five minutes proved another blow to their season.
They'll now face the Brisbane Broncos on Saturday night with three of their stars set to back up from Origin III duties and the possible return of Anthony Milford.
Brown emphasised the need for more experience on the paddock and was hopeful the club could announce signings that would accommodate the young talent on the park.
"I can see the makings of a really good side as they keep developing and we add good, experienced players to the roster," Brown said.
"It's just we found a different way to lose today. I get as sad and disappointed as anyone, but that's just where we are unfortunately."
Newcastle will be sweating on scan results on Sione Mata'utia, who left Belmore nursing a suspected fractured finger. Mid-season recruit Shaun Kenny-Dowall could be a chance to make his club debut as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury.