Newcastle have started their climb back up the NRL ladder with prop David Klemmer saying the confidence within the team is infectious.
After the Knights clawed their way back twice against Manly – behind 12-0 and then 24-20 – to register a 26-24 win on Sunday, Klemmer said the result typified the character of the 2020 Knights.
"We would have lost that game last year, a hundred per cent," the Test and NSW Origin forward said.
He felt coach Adam O'Brien's rigorous pre-season and even tougher emphasis on defence and resilience is paying off.
"Especially with Adzy coming in with his experience at Melbourne and the Roosters, he's seen what footy sides go through to win competitions and what winning environments are like.
"He took us there in the off-season – it was a tough one.
Match Highlights: Knights v Sea Eagles
"The pleasing thing is everyone is willing to learn. They come in at the video sessions to work on their games. That's what is going to take us to the next step as a footy side.
"To get the win today is a big confidence for us – to get over some adversity today."
Klemmer was referring to losing his prop partner Daniel Saifiti after only 25 minutes. Saifiti limped off with a left knee injury – the same joint that has kept him out of the side for the past five weeks.
O'Brien doesn't expect his Blues forward to be missing any more games.
"Early signs it's a little bit of scar tissue stuff. The medical staff were OK to put him back on but I just wanted to take the long-game mentality with him," he said.
The Knights' eighth win of the season has them back at sixth on the ladder, and facing the Cowboys at McDonald Jones Stadium next Sunday – their third home game in a row.
But O'Brien doesn't want to delve too much into the discussion of whether his side can finish in the top four.
"Not looking at the top four. We're just going to enjoy that and get straight into the Cowboys," O'Brien said.
"There's some stuff in that win that we need to fix up. We weren't at our best but having said that I don't want to take anything away from Manly – that was a tough performance from them to come up here already down on troops and then they lost a couple early.
"They were scrapping for everything so I take my hat off to them.
"I'm not saying that [top four] is not something that we all want to aspire to. But I also know that you can get caught if you look too far down the track."