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Newcastle coach Nathan Brown said the performance of his players isn't the only thing that needs to be reviewed following the Knights' 29-18 loss to Penrith at McDonald Jones Stadium on Friday night.

The penalty count was 10-9 in favour of the visitors, but Brown was not happy with the way the referees ruled on the 10 metres when his side had the ball.

"If the referee gets reviewed as hard as our players are going to get reviewed then they will get some disappointing feedback, I would have thought," he said.

While not thrilled with the whistleblowers, Brown conceded the two Connor Watson mistakes that led to missed tries were what cost his side the most.

The Knights five-eighth denied Daniel Saifiti a try when he pulled down the marker, which the bunker agreed with the on-field decision of a penalty to Penrith.

Then just moments later Watson made a break downfield, but could not find the unmarked Brock Lamb – the error leading to a Panthers try at the other end.

Knights back-rower Lachlan Fitzgibbon.
Knights back-rower Lachlan Fitzgibbon. ©Shane Myers/NRL Photos

"That's where the game was won and lost," Brown said.

"Last week if Kenny [Sio] puts the ball down we go to the front and maybe we win, maybe we don't.

"I'm very confident with the effort we were putting in tonight we would have won the game, where last week we weren't playing well enough to deserve any luck.

"I'm more worried about the discipline, we can't afford to have that."

Co-captain Aidan Guerra admits it was a better defensive effort overall from his team this week, but lapses and silly mistakes proved too costly.

"I felt like we were doing the right thing on the line, and I felt the defence we were putting together was really good – then just a lapse," the lock forward said.

"A lapse that gave away an inside shoulder and they scored.

"The effort was certainly there but just a couple of reads and ill-discipline that cost us tonight."

Brown believes while the Knights fell 12-0 behind in the first half, the start was not as bad as last week, admitting the Panthers were a bigger side and had a lot go their way.

But he was full of praise for James Maloney.

"If Jimmy Maloney played for us, we probably would have won," Brown said.

"James Maloney, in Nathan Cleary's absence, has upped his ante a little bit, and he's a serial winner.

"The team that beat us tonight will be playing very late in September if they can have a bit of luck with injury.

"So we didn't get beat by any dummies."

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