Head coach Nathan Brown and Trent Hodkinson spoke to the media following the Newcastle Knights' Round 23 loss to the Penrith Panthers at Hunter Stadium.
It was a disappointing defeat for the young Knights who competed well in the first half and headed into the sheds with the scoreboard level at 6-6.
However, the game slid away in the secomd stanza with the Panthers piling on points.
"I had felt we'd been making some decent progress of late...we have had some really good performances where we have competed hard and fought hard," Brown said.
"Today at six all, I think everyone would agree we competed well.
"Our attack wasn't great, but we competed really well against a good Penrith side."
Brown was disheartened to see that effort drop away in the second half.
"There were periods there today with some of the defensive things we did, just weren't to the standards of what they were in the first half," he said.
"There have been a number of occasions this year when we have taken a step forward and two back.
"Today feels like we took a fair few back. I was disappointed with certain things."
Joint-captain Trent Hodkinson agreed with Brown and lamented the team's lack of energy after 40 minutes of play.
"The first half that we had was really positive. We came into the sheds at six all and felt our defense had been up there with near one of our better games all year," he said.
"The challenge was to come out in the second half and do the same thing, and we didn't.
"Some of those tries that they scored were very disappointing.
"Defensively we were poor in the second half and didn't build off our first half and they rolled through us."
The Newcastle Knights will look for redemption against the Gold Coast Titans at Hunter Stadium this Saturday.