Newcastle will be celebrating Mad Monday with the rest of the bottom eight unless they urgently discover the defensive resolve that took them to the top four at the start of the Origin period.
The Knights' 30-6 loss to Manly has coach Nathan Brown staring down yet another missed finals series in 2019, which would make six on the trot dating back to 2013.
Newcastle kept the Sea Eagles to a slender 8-6 lead until the 50th minute, when a series of dire defensive lapses saw Manly streak away with a comfortable win.
The Knights' fifth straight loss doesn't rule them entirely out of the finals equation, but the 30 points a game they've conceded over that period has Brown questioning his team's mental resolve under pressure.
"On current form you could probably answer that question yourself," Brown said when asked if Newcastle could still feature in September.
"In periods of games we're right there.
"We're not recovering from real adversity at the moment in those periods in the second half.
"The same thing happened against the Roosters as well. We were in the contest for a while against a good side like today.
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"Whether we're 50-50 with them or reasonably close, when it goes it's really going on us.
"When we had one moment in defence that wasn't good we backed it up with two other bad moments.
"We're just having little windows of footy where it's not to the standard it needs to be if you want to be a top eight side or you want to win contests.
"[Our finals hopes] are not dead but you look at how we're playing, that's the key for me."
Newcastle did recover from a five-game losing streak at the start of the year to post six straight wins and have themselves sitting fifth at the end of May.
But Brown takes little solace from their previous winning runs, struggling to see positives in his team's defence at key periods.
"It's not comparable at all anywhere," he said.
"We had a lot of resolve for two thirds of the year whether we were winning or losing.
"There was a lot of confidence about what our defence was doing. Whereas at the moment, a little bit of its confidence but a little bit of its mental as well."