Newcastle Knights coach Adam O'Brien and captain Kalyn Ponga have found reason for positivity after the club's second straight heavy loss, this time at the hands of the Melbourne Storm.
Following a Round 7 loss which saw the men from the Hunter fall by 39 points to 2, the Knights backed it up on Sunday afternoon by conceding 50 points against the Melbourne Storm.
It means the Knights have conceded 89 points in the last fortnight, to go with scoring just four - in the form of two penalty goals.
Despite that, Adam O'Brien, who said he couldn't look anyone in the eye after the loss to Parramatta, claimed there was a response from his side.
“People are going to think I’m off my head if they look at the scoreline and think that there was (improvement) but there was some response,” O'Brien said at his post-match press conference.
“There were some parts I didn’t see, the fundamentals like catching the ball off kick-offs and kicking off properly, I didn’t see all that. So I’m not happy with that stuff but some individuals showed they really care but we were still soft in some parts out on our edges.
“They (the Storm) played way too quick, Harry had way too much time, they were having a good time out there at the end.”
It was a game in which the Knights didn't touch the ball for the opening 12 minutes after putting a kick-off out on the full. The second half started in similar fashion when they failed to catch Melbourne's kick-off, the ball then bouncing over the dead ball line.
The Knights constantly defended poorly on their own try line as Melbourne ran riot for the second week in a row following their 60-point towel up of the New Zealand Warriors on ANZAC Day.
Ponga, joining his coach at the press conference, said he thought the side had shown more effort.
“There was a lot more effort I thought, it’s hard to see that when the scoreboard is reflected the way it is but I thought there was a lot more effort than last week and that probably hurts more,” Ponga said.
The Knights face another difficult task this weekend when they travel to play the high-flying North Queensland Cowboys in Townsville on a six-day turnaround.