Coach Rick Stone acknowledges the Newcastle Knights team failed to make the most of ample opportunities against the St George Illawarra Dragons in challenging conditions on Saturday night.
In a low scoring affair, the Knights were defeated 13-0 at Hunter Stadium after a string of four wins to start the season.
“Full credit to the Saints. They turned up and played hard for 80 minutes, they really worked hard for each,” Stone said.
“They sorted the game out and they came with some resolve.
“They were too good for us in the end and they deserve their win."
Despite failing to put points on the board, Stone praised the Knights for conjuring much of the possession.
“I don’t know if we were terrible early on? We got enough chances early on," he said.
“I thought in the first half we had enough chances to score some points."
But Stone believes the Knights' plan of attack was misjudged in blustery, wet weather, which gave the Dragons the upper hand.
“We probably tried to play a bit too much around them in the conditions and they handled that pretty well,” he said.
“We didn’t play direct enough or sort out our last plays as good as we could have.
“Condition weren’t great, but they were the same for both sides and they handled it better than us.”
Despite enjoying plenty of ball in their half, the Knights were unable to penetrate the Dragons' firm defensive line.
“I think we could have done a bit better, they did put our play makers under pressure,” Stone said.
“In those sort of conditions, tries are hard to come by.
“Your last plays and getting a bit of pressure on your opposition in those conditions is vitally important.
“They managed that a bit better than us.
“Our first five weeks we have compete hard, we came up against a team in tough conditions and they handled it better than us.
“They possibly competed a bit harder than us."
The Knights now look to make the most of the quick turn around for their Round 6 match against the Cronullla Sharks at Remondis Stadium on Friday night.
“We need a lot more polish on a few areas in attack. We understand that,” he said.
“That’s got to be our priority.”