Knights coach Adam O’Brien said his decision to replace rookie winger Dominic Young in the 65th minute of a 28-8 loss to Sydney Roosters was not solely due to form.
Young had a night to forget, with three of the first four Roosters tries scored down his side and his ball-handling also far from perfect.
O’Brien said he didn’t enjoy hooking the Jamaican World Cup hopeful and that responsibility for rebuilding his confidence would be a shared affair.
"His teammates will pick him up ... Dom needs to pick himself up through his training," O’Brien said.
"He did some good things. That’s what young blokes do. We’re a young squad in the outside backs, in particular, so you get that. You get some rocks and diamonds moments from them.
Match Highlights: Roosters v Knights
"It’s important I help them. It’s my job as a coach to make sure I’m teaching Dom and helping him along his journey. It’s not just about kicking into him when he’s down.
"It’s obviously really hard [to pull an underperforming player from the field] but his performance wasn’t the only reason for the switch. I wanted to get some [different] personnel out there.
"The Roosters had some challenges with their own personnel and where they were playing in position. We didn’t expose those areas of the Roosters’ defence and that’s what I was trying to do."
O’Brien was referencing the Roosters' first-half injuries woes. They lost Billy Smith and Matt Ikuvalu and had to play with three different right-edge centres throughout the match.
Technical and tactical elements O'Brien's pain points
Despite leading 8-0 and looking sharp early, the Knights faded badly in the second half, with the floodgates opening in the last 15 minutes.
"We just didn’t manage that second half, everything from our kicking game to our field position," O’Brien said.
"We didn’t play smart with the footy. There was a lot of emotion in the room. It was an emotional week. They don’t enjoy where we are at and we’re trying to find our way out.
"We’re young and our footy IQ needs to improve. Fortunately, we’re in an environment [isolation] where there is no excuse not to get better at footy.
"There’s no better place for a young man to get better at footy."