Newcastle captain Jamie Buhrer has accepted the Knights will receive their third wooden spoon in as many years but doesn't feel the side has deserved it in 2017.
The former Sea Eagle jumped ship to the Knights in October last season, but Buhrer has no regrets despite the team's last-placed finish with his former team set to play finals football.
"It's a different feeling [to last year], getting the wooden spoon you wouldn't think there would be too much optimism," Buhrer said.
"To see where the club has gone from November when I got here to where we sit now, I can say with confidence if we had five more games left, I don't think we would get the wooden spoon.
"It is a wooden spoon but doesn't feel that way."
Another experienced head in Roosters forward Aidan Guerra will join Buhrer at the Knights next season, while the club in talks with Broncos veteran Adam Blair.
It is the younger players that Buhrer believes will benefit from another season under their belts, plus the experience of playing on Old Boys Day on Sunday in the presence of the club's 1997 premiership-winning team.
"Some of the players that have now got 50 games have also taken the step," he said.
"[Old Boys Day] was everything I was told it would be and a bit more.
"The emotion and occasion with the town just combined into one. It's a big family club that is built from the ground up and it makes you want to compete.
"I think we had some silly errors but our ticker was on display.
"It's time to have a rest but I'm not the only one itching for November 1."
Newcastle had their second biggest crowd of the season on Sunday and Knights coach Nathan Brown was left stunned by the turnout.
"I couldn't believe it when Gids (Knights CEO Matt Gidley) was saying the ticket sales have been the best they've been all year," Brown said.
"I know it's Old Boys Day and the Knights do it better than anyone but to get over 20,000 when you're playing a side where no one gave us a chance of beating is unbelievable.
"That's why now that Wests have taken over there is a big scope to become a powerful club because you've got a fan base that will turn up under all circumstances."
Meanwhile, Brown was confident the side would remain competitive next season with a host of new signings set to arrive in November.
The losses of Jarrod Mullen and Rory Kostjaysn before a ball was kicked hurt the club, while utility Dylan Phythian tore his ACL in the opening game of the season.
"I'm very confident we will make strides again next year," Brown said.
"If we had a bit of luck with Mullo, Rory and Dylan Phythian, I would have expected us in tighter games to do better.
"On what happened to us last year, this year has been built on those kids once again.
"I'm expecting the same improvement next year and move out of that [bottom of the table] territory."