It’s never easy sitting on the back of five consecutive losses, but coach Rick Stone says the Newcastle Knights remain positive and committed to turning their season around.
“We are frustrated of course,” Stone told the media on Tuesday.
“We have to find a way to win and to be a little bit mentally stronger."
The Knights go back to the drawing board after a disappointing 30-10 loss to the Manly Sea Eagles with the intent to identify and amplify the positives of the game.
“There were plenty of good points to come out of the game, we’re just not getting the result at the moment,” Stone added.
“I think we competed really well in the first 20 minutes of the game, but we relaxed at certain times which really led to some soft tries and one in particular from inside their own half which was the really disappointing one.
“We have to work harder and smarter and have to be a little bit more competitive for longer periods in the game. That’s the main thought.”
While the Knights started the season well with four straight wins, Stone acknowledges the team is at critical part of the season.
“Especially coming back to our home base,” he added.
“The Parramatta and the Cowboys games were really disappointing losses.
“Manly played great in the first half and they deserve their win. We can handle getting beaten by a better side.
“We need to improve in a number of facets. It’s our job to concentrate on ourselves.
“We’re not quite sure on what the Tigers are going to bring on Sunday.
“We need to keep improving and some of our indicators are showing that we are.
“We need to be a more consistent team for the full 80 minutes."
With Jarrod Mullen unlikely to take the field on Sunday, Stone has key decisions to make in regard to the line-up.
While he highlighted Jake Mamo and Carlos Tuimavave as options to consider in Tuesday's match committee meeting, he also backed halfback Tyrone Roberts.
Although the 23-year-old has attracted some scrutiny of late, Stone is committed to supporting Roberts in the pivotal role.
“I think Tyrone did some good things in the game. I think we are seeing small improvements from Tyrone from week-to-week,” he said.
“I know he carries a fair bit of responsibility and sometimes the blame, which is not totally accurate.
“As a halfback he has to take some responsibility and he has to understand that. He understands he needs to get better and more consistent.
“Jarrod and Tyrone have been our first choice halves this year.
“I have to believe in and stick with Tyrone at this particular stage and have to keep encouraging him to get better.
“That’s the focus and that’s the message we need to give him.
“He understands that things haven’t been going great for him but he’s working really hard and doing a lot of individual and team work to improve himself.
“We know he can do better than he’s doing and he’s the first one to admit that.
“He’s been pretty resilient and defensively he’s getting better.
“Most teams really need their halves to be consistent in their execution, decision making and in particular their kicking.
“That’s something that’s a continuous ongoing scenario for every half in the competition, not just ours."
With the focus now shifting to Sunday's return to Hunter Stadium, team improvement is the key.
“We have some high expectations of ourselves. We’re not happy with what has happened in the last few weeks. We need to do better than that full stop,” Stone concluded.