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Klem: 'We would've lost that last year'

"We would've lost that game last year."

That's the opinion of David Klemmer, the leader of the nib Newcastle Knights forward pack.

It's an opinion that's tough to disprove.

In 2019, the Knights lost eight games by eight points or less.

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That's 16 winnable competition points lost, which proved the difference between finishing 11th or safely inside the NRL's top four.

This year, the Knights have lost just two games by similar margins, a pair of six point losses to Parramatta and Canterbury.

It's a remarkable turn in fortunes which Klemmer puts down to the resilience instilled in the side by Adam O'Brien.

"With 'Adzy' coming in, the experience he's had with Clubs like Melbourne and the Roosters, he's seen what footy teams go through in competitions and what winning environments are like," he said.

"He's obviously taken us there over the off-season - it was a tough one - but I think he enjoyed watching us train.

"I think it's starting to pay dividends now."

With the Coach bringing a new mindset into the Club's environment, Klemmer praised his team-mate's ability to adapt to the new way of doing things in 2020.

"I think the really pleasing thing is everybody's willing to learn still, coming into video and working on their game.

"That's what's going to take us to those next steps as a footy side.

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"Everyone's still working hard, and that's the stuff we've got to keep doing."

According to the NSW Origin prop, the big pre-season and new-found resilience has the left the side with far more confidence than he's ever seen in the roster since his arrival at the Club in 2019.

"Definitely (there's more confidence), we would've lost that game last year," he said.

"Our mentality and what we went through in the off-season training wise, we got put in those situations in the off-season as well.

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"To get through that is a big confidence boost."

Despite the positive results gained through taking out close matches, the big man admits there's still plenty of improvement left in the side as the regular season enters it's final six weeks.

"Going through the video with 'Adzy' is going to be tough, but that's what we've got to do," Klemmer said.

"There's a lot we have to work on as a (forward) pack."