You certainly can’t fault the Newcastle Knights courage in their loss to Melbourne, but coach Wayne Bennett wants more.
In the wake of the Knights 28-20 defeat at the hands of the Storm on Monday night, Bennett said the team need to improve their discipline and execution.
The coach has no doubts his side's lopsided 15-7 penalty count cost them dearly against the Storm.
"I can take a lot of heart out of what we are doing, but I just want us to get smarter," Bennett said in the post-match press conference.
"Our penalties are just ridiculous. Tonight they were and they are just things that you can avoid doing.
“They beat themselves.
“15 penalties, multiple repeat sets on their own try line, so they defended great.
“But at the end of the day they (Melbourne) are a quality football team and you are not going to hold them out for long enough.
“We gave away too many penalties and it was just too much to absorb in the end."
Skipper Kurt Gidley agrees with Bennett, admitting he was guilty of some crucial penalties in the second half himself.
"I can't remember the last time we've been on the right end of 15 penalties, so we've only got ourselves to blame," Gidley says.
"It's frustrating and I was a part of a couple, so I'm disappointed with myself in that area.
"It's something we've got to address really quickly and move on."
Gidley says it's far from ideal to be winless after three rounds, but the Club is remaining positive and looking ahead to Sunday's crucial round four clash against the Cronulla Sharks at Hunter Stadium.
"Zero from three is not where we want to be that's for sure, but we've been putting in plenty of effort," he says.
"But effort doesn't get you the points in the end.
"You've got to play some smarts as well and you've got to play to your game plan, but as Wayne said penalties just kill you in the end.
"That's especially the case against a quality team like that.
"I don't know how many extra sets they got in the end, but it takes its toll that's for sure."
Bennett was unable to provide an update on McKinnon's injury following the match.
“I don’t want to confirm or deny anything right now,” he said.
“It’s a pretty delicate situation and I just want to leave it at that until we’re all better informed and know what we’re talking about.”
Bennett praised his side's fighting qualities in the second half, particularly following McKinnon's injury.
"I think the boys did a good job there, but it was hard," he enthuses.
"The first question when they came in at full-time was about Alex. It wasn't about anything else.
"They played some great football in the second half, it's just the penalties and mistakes that hurt us. But they obviously moved on enough to know they had to be professional enough to get the job done."
Gidley added about his injured teammate, "I was on the sideline then, so it’s always pretty concerning when one of your teammates goes down like that.
"And then stretchered off, it didn’t look good with his head hitting the ground first.
"So hopefully he is alright. He is a really good fella Alex and a good teammate of ours."
| Alex McKinnon update - CLICK HERE |