Knights coach Nathan Brown will persist with Mitchell Pearce and Connor Watson in the halves despite his side slumping to a fifth straight defeat on Sunday, an error-riddled first half contributing to their 38-14 loss to the Titans.
Brown made a late move to bring Watson into the starting side at five-eighth at the expense of Mason Lino, the third halves combination he has tried in the opening six weeks of the Telstra Premiership.
There were chances created early that were squandered and a 22-0 deficit at half-time a bridge too far despite some electrifying passages from Kalyn Ponga and Pearce in particular.
Newcastle’s next assignment is against the Eels at McDonald Jones Stadium next Sunday and Brown suggested Watson would be retained at five-eighth.
"I don't see why we'd want to change it, that combination," said Brown.
"We were very threatening today. While the scoreboard suggested we were bad – and we were very bad in a part of the game – whenever we threw any sort of structural shape at them or the guys ran their plays we caused them plenty of problems.
Loose pass from Kenny-Dowall leads to Don try
"Connor and Mitch have played together enough. Whilst Connor played five-eighth today and Kalyn played fullback they did all the same things they did all pre-season which appeared to work very well but we didn't have the finishing bit.
"I don't know how many times we got across the line in the second half but the combination's there."
It took just 10 minutes for Ponga to split the Titans defence for the first time on Sunday but his decision to kick for support rather than take on Gold Coast opposite Michael Gordon was symptomatic of poor decision-making of a team under pressure.
While he didn’t dismiss the notion that confidence was contributing to poor execution, Brown said his key players needed to come up with the right option when it counted.
"We opened them up twice and kicked it and threw the ball on the ground. That probably summed us up for the day,” Brown said of his side’s early opportunities.
"If you look at how we got across the line in the opening 70 minutes we certainly showed that the initial part of our offence was much more threatening than what it probably has been.
"People have got to make better decisions when we get into the good positions, whether to pass or hold it and have some confidence that your teammate can actually come up with something good off the back of what you've done well.
"Is it confidence? Is it bad execution? Bad decisions? Any combination I suppose. We just need to knuckle down at training and come out next week and create some opportunities and then come up with the right decisions."
As for the three handling errors that led directly to Titans tries, Brown was most concerned by his side’s inability to respond quickly to their mistakes.
"The reality is we came up with some horrible errors, our transition was poor and the other side got out to a 22-0 lead on us," said Brown.
"Those things aren't what anyone would suggest is acceptable.
"The Gold Coast got three tries in the first half, two of them just picking up loose balls and running the length of the field. That obviously tells us that the reaction to our errors is quite poor."