Knights captain Mitchell Pearce insists there are no issues at the club that a win won't resolve.
External noise about his own form, the future of coach Nathan Brown, and from frustrated fans venting after five straight losses have combined to create a gloomy atmosphere in Newcastle as the Knights prepare to play Parramatta at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday.
A 30-year-old veteran in his 13th season in the NRL, the former Roosters playmaker accepts all of that as part of professional sport but is adamant there is nothing sinister at play and said the Knights were sticking together in support of their coach, and each other.
Brown pulled no punches on Wednesday during a review of their embarrassing 38-14 loss to Gold Coast at Robina last Sunday, but Pearce said they deserved the "fair rocket" the coach delivered.
"We've got to start winning. That's the key," Pearce told the media after training on Wednesday.
"We had a period at the Roosters when we might have lost four in a row – it didn't happen very often – but the biggest thing you can do, winning takes the dark cloud off everyone's head, and takes [away] the dark cloud of the media around your club.
Match Highlights: Titans v Knights
"It's a sport about winning, isn't it.
"You've got to win – you've got to get results – and no-one wants to win more than all of us here. We're not going out there to lose but I think the last two weeks, I think we've slipped and there's probably been a bit of old habits creep into our game the last two weeks.
"But you don't turn into a bad footballer in one week or two weeks, so for us it's about working hard. We trained really good today, we've got to train well again tomorrow, and we've got a big game on Sunday. It's early in the season but we've got to turn it around soon."
As Brown did 24 hours earlier, Pearce laughed off suggestions there was a "party culture" at the Knights, but felt like the team had much ground to regain with their long-suffering supporters.
"It's not a nice place to walk around here when you're not winning. You feel like you've let a lot of people down," he said.
"I was the first to speak last year about how good the support was, and I'll stand up now and also say how bad it feels when you don't win.
"We're all standing here pretty dark at the moment after a fair few losses but it's a long season. We'll prepare well … and get ready for a big game this weekend."
Pearce was pleased with most aspects of his own performance against the Titans last Sunday but said there was still room for improvement.
"I've deserved it … I haven't been playing my best footy, but to be honest on the weekend I was pretty happy with some of the footy I played," he said.
"I'm searching for my best game and I'm happy to cop the criticism because until I fire and we start winning games, it probably does come down a lot on my shoulders with our attack, and I'm more than happy with that."
Pearce said the players fully supported Brown, but acknowledged the criticism would continue until they start winning games.
"I heard Browny come out and say he doesn't rant and rave, and that's not his style, but he can definitely give you a good spray and he's been hard on us from the start of pre-season to where we are now. He's been driving our standards as our leader," Pearce said.
"Like I said, the game on the weekend, everything up to kick-off went according to plan. We trained probably the best week of training we've had.
"I've played a lot of games of footy, and sometimes it just doesn't happen for whatever reason. It's not an excuse but it's got nothing to do with the coaching.
"It's funny in rugby league isn't it, when coaches are under pressure.
"The first time you lose, all the haters that don't like that person come out and start stabbing them real quick. When you win, no-one's ever got anything to say.
"That's part of life. That's part of footy. One thing I've noticed about Browny since I've been here, he's got pretty thick skin and he's pretty calm. To be a head coach for 20 years … he knows how to handle it and he'll get us right for this weekend.
"Obviously we want to support the coach, so that's a form of motivation for the game, but as a club, we're all in it together. We all speak about that … We're professionals for a reason and it's our job as a team to work our way out of it."