It was a big day for the Newcastle Knights with Alex McKinnon attending the RiseForAlex match at Hunter Stadium, but in the end the team couldn't get the job done.
The Gold Coast Titans scored first, took a 12-nil lead into the break before eventually defeating the Knights 22-8 in front of a 26,401 crowd.
Coach Wayne Bennett couldn’t pinpoint why the team delivered such a disappointing performance.
"We ended up raining on our own parade," he admitted.
"It has just been such a crazy season that I’ve just given up trying to work out why.
"There is no reason for that type of performance from us here today.
"I just can’t get my head around it."
Mullen echoed Bennett's thoughts, conceding the team couldn't use the emotion surrounding McKinnon as an excuse.
"We had a job to do out there today and we just didn’t do it," he said.
"We lost Kurt (Gidley) at halftime and that was a big blow, but there are no excuses there.
"We just needed to get the job done and we didn’t do it."
Gidley suffered a groin injury, while Chris Houston (knee) and James McManus (foot) were late omissions for Sunday's match.
The Knights will look to rebound when they host the Sydney Roosters at Hunter Stadium on Friday night.