Knights dummy-half Danny Levi is making himself indispensable.
Less than a month ago, amid Newcastle's five-game losing streak and his own mediocre form, and despite being contracted until the end of 2020, the Knights gave Levi's manager permission to shop him around.
The 23-year-old New Zealand international found himself in a similar situation last year but he knuckled down and worked hard during pre-season training, saw off the challenge from off-season recruit Kurt Mann, and started this year wearing Newcastle's No.9 jersey.
The Knights were roasted after their insipid performance in the 38-14 loss to Gold Coast at Robina on Easter Sunday but they have responded with three straight victories over the Eels, Warriors and Bulldogs.
Since having a heart-to-heart with coach Nathan Brown to clarify his role, Levi's spark around the rucks and direct running from dummy-half have helped turn his and the team's fortunes around.
"I was pretty disappointed with myself with a couple of those games and Browny talked to me about simplifying a few things, and that seems to have worked for us," Levi said.
The chat with Brown that changed Levi's game
Levi never feared losing his starting spot but the criticism and scrutiny "kept me on my toes".
"I was always confident in myself," he said.
"There were a few games there where I definitely let myself down but I've never really let that get to me too much and I always had confidence that I'd bounce back, so it's just about moving forward and keeping on building on it."
Levi played the whole game against the Bulldogs at Suncorp Stadium last Saturday, running for 89 metres and making 40 tackles.
It was his first 80-minute effort this year but he hopes it will not be his last, and he gets another chance to test his endurance against the Dragons at Mudgee on Sunday.
"It's something I've always wanted to do. Last weekend gave me an opportunity to do it," he said.
"I was feeling really good then our trainer Balin [Cupples] came on in the last 10 minutes and asked me if I could get through the 80.
"I didn't even realise how much time was left, then when he said that I started to feel a bit tired, but other than that, I was all good.
"I've seen all our senior players, how much they can work when they're under fatigue and how hard they still go, and it makes myself want to do the exact same thing and not let anyone down.
"It's something that was good for me but now it's about putting it back to back."
Levi remains committed to the Knights and said he had no input in whatever discussions his manager, Mario Tartak, was having with any other NRL clubs regarding his playing future.
Levi releases Ponga into open space
"I don't know. He's doing what he does but I told him, and he told me, just keep focusing on your footy and that's what I've done," he said.
"I haven't really thought about anything like that. That gets in your head a bit too much so I've just concentrated on my footy and playing good, so everything will work out I reckon."
After playing 75 NRL games in the past five seasons, having joined the Knights from New Zealand as a 17-year-old in 2013, Levi has developed a close relationship with the club and the community and is keen to continue his career in Newcastle.
"I can't say what every other team is like but I reckon we'd be one of the closest teams," he said.
"That's something that helps me out every day, showing up and seeing all the boys – I love all the boys here – so they keep my mind off those sort of things, and hopefully I get to stay with them.
"… I've got to make sure I concentrate on my footy and keep playing good, and like I said, I think everything will work out for me."