The Newcastle Knights are yet to record a win this season, but coach Wayne Bennett couldn't be prouder of their effort without a number of key stars due to injury.
In the wake of the Knights' close 26-20 loss against the Canberra Raiders on Sunday night, Bennett heaped praise on his team for hanging in there without much luck on their side.
Newcastle now faces a tough month of football, with three of their next four games away from home. This run starts with a road trip to Melbourne to take on the Storm next Monday.
As challenging as this draw is though, Bennett believes his side can take plenty of confidence from their effort heading into the coming weeks.
"It doesn't get any easier, but that's the reality of the situation because we haven't got the other ones available and we have to do it the best we can," Bennett said at the post-game press conference.
"But we were much improved on last week.
"We were a bit stiff to lose here tonight, but we have.
"The team is doing all they can under a bit of adversity with some key players missing, so you've got to put it all into perspective.
"There was a lot of effort and a lot of good football and we've just got to keep that little bit of momentum going now if we can and wait until the key players get back and we've got something for them to come back into.
"We haven't played badly here tonight.
"Last week (against Penrith) we weren't good, but tonight we played a quality game of football.
"There was two points in it right up to that last moment. I've got lots of encouraging things, but I'd just like to see a bit more luck play its part with us as well.
"There were three things in my opinion that where line ball that didn't go our way and when it's a tight game it makes a difference and that's exactly what happened."
Asked what his thoughts were on the Raiders’ final try to forward Paul Vaughan, which looked forward, Bennett admitted the call was incorrect.
"I think it was pretty obvious to everybody at the ground," he says frankly.
"You don’t need me to reiterate what we all saw.
"There were a couple of those in the game.
"We aren’t having a lot of luck going our way with it.
"There was another one where a ball was lost and it should have been a penalty or a turnover to us and they just allowed the play to go on and they scored off the next play."
In a positive for Newcastle, new recruit Matt Minto was impressive in his debut at fullback.
The former premiership-winning Mackay Cutters halfback looked nervous early, but overcame those jitters to prove he has the ability to perform in the NRL.
"I thought he was really good," the veteran mentor enthused.
"It’s not easy playing in the NRL for the first time at fullback and I thought he handled it well."
Skipper Kurt Gidley backed up Bennett's thoughts on Minto.
"I thought he did a good job," Gidley says.
“Obviously Darbs has been our fullback for the past couple of years, so it takes a bit of time coming in for your first go.
“But I thought he was good."
Asked about the loss to Canberra, Gidley conceded it was a match that will take some time to get over.
"I’m still trying to process it," he says.
"It’s one of those games where you wonder where it went wrong.
"I think it’s going to take 24 to 48 hours just to process what has happened.
"But look there is plenty of effort that’s for sure over the last couple of weeks.
"Obviously round one was chaos, but there is still plenty of talk out there in defence.
"We just needed things to go our way.
"It’s one of those momentum things that we need to swing the other way."
Gidley and the Knights will be hoping this momentum shift starts next Monday night against the Storm.