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Competition - NRL Premiership Round. Round - Round 12. Teams - Newcastle Knights v Parramatta Eels. Date - 30th of May 2016. Venue - Hunter Stadium, Broadmeadow NSW. Photographer - Paul Barkley.

In a night that the Newcastle Knights came desperately close to a win at Hunter Stadium, coach Nathan Brown has praised the young side's effort and commitment. 

Coach Brown and joint-captain Trent Hodkinson spoke to the media following Monday night's 20-18 loss to the Parramatta Eels. 

"I think effort and commitment was great," Brown said. 

"Some guys had their best games since I've been here. 

"I thought in the first half in particular, we played some really positive footy in attack which we got off the back off our ruck defence and line speed which improved for a much longer period of time.

"We had a few periods there where we fell away and had fundemental errors in defence and with the ball."

While the Knights built strong momemtum early on, Brown believes the second half wasn't as polished as the first. 

"We played into their hands a little bit in the second half," he said. 

"I got alot of enjoyment from watching us attack in the first half. It was a lot of our defensive stuff from the scrum and pushing blokes into touch from kicks and getting repeats sets.

"I thought there was a lot of commitment and effort there from the guys. 

"We hope to get some consistency there and take it forward."

The Knights fought desperately hard to score points in the dying minutes of the match, but a denied Nathan Ross try meant the home side was unable to secure the win. 

"He had some really good stuff with Rossy (Nathan Ross). He's got some things he needs to work on, but he has been fairly consistent for us which has been a challenge for him," he said. 

"We just didn't quite get the ball down at the death with Rossy which is unfortunate."

Hodkinson also saw plenty of promise from the Knights' first half effort which he hopes the side will replicate moving forward. 

"It was probably one of our better halves in the first half with attack. We improved tremendously," he said. 

"We were up off the line and were getting plenty of people in the tackle and were taking them over sidelines. 

"The intent was much better and our attack flowed off the back of that."

The halfback said it was an inability to capitilise on opportunities in the second stanza that eventually cost the side the game.

"There are plenty of things to look back at and improve on next week," he said. 

"That should be the benchmark now, that first half.

"We should be looking to improve off that and back it up in the second half again.

"In this competition you have to play for the full 80.

"It just goes to show we had 40 minutes that was really good...then 40 that wasn't so good and we got rolled at the end."

The Newcastle Knights prepare to take on the North Queensland Cowboys on Saturday night.