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O'Brien wants honesty session with his players

The Knights needed to take a good, long look at themselves if finals football was going to become a reality for the Hunter Valley side in 2020, according to their coach Adam O'Brien.

In his rookie season as head coach O'Brien tried to keep his thinking clear after watching his side capitulate to the Warriors 36-6.

The Knights were held scoreless in the second half as the Warriors piled on five of their six tries.

It was the most points conceded by the Knights so far this year – topping the 32-20 humiliation to the Cowboys in round seven.

"I can't defend it. I don't have any excuse for it," was O'Brien's honest assessment post-match having warned his players of the dangers the Warriors posed.

"We need to address it and take the lessons out of it really quickly. I don't want a performance like that any time of the year.

"It's quite embarrassing for us as a club."

The timing is not great with just four weeks remaining to the finals.

"We need to have some honest conversations in and around that. If we want to get something out of the season then we need to make it happen, not expect it to happen," O'Brien said.

Match Highlights: Warriors v Knights

The pressure on the Knights to deliver for the first time in seven years is immense.

O'Brien pointed to the effort against the Warriors to emphasise how far away it still is.

"We're a classic example that if you look too far ahead you run into the car ahead – that's us," he said.

"At some stage we need to take that lesson. For us right now it's about Monday and a really honest review.

"Mentally we can't afford to look too far ahead. Finals is irrelevant to us right now."

The halves are a continuing problem for O'Brien. Mason Lino partnered Mitchell Pearce against the Warriors after Kurt Mann, Phoenix Crossland, Tex Hoy and Blake Green have all either started at No.6, come off the bench or been shuffled into five-eighth as injuries have played havoc with cohesion.

Lino made one tackle break and managed to only get five kicks away for 161 metres.

Mann might need to be sent back into the halves since he trained most of the pre-season there alongside Pearce. Mann has been filling in at hooker following season-ending injuries to Jayden Brailey,  Andrew McCullough and Connor Watson.

"The halves weren't on their own. There is a lot to look at," O'Brien said.

"We had six errors coming out of end our own end in the first 22 minutes. We just kept turning the ball over and didn't want to get our contact on.

"I don't know if we were listening to all the talk about finals or not but we had a poor attitude."

The loss followed a string of three wins that had the Knights steering a course for a possible top-four finish. They remain in seventh position.

"I thought the last few weeks we've shown a lot of resilience on our try line but that didn't happen out there today. In that second half they just poured through us."