Adam O'Brien believes Newcastle can return to top form in Sunday's elimination final against South Sydney having had their "best session this year" during the week.
The first-year coach said his team had "been preparing for this month for 11 months now" and was stoked with the way they've trained after a shock defeat to the Titans that cost them a home playoff.
"I'd say the mid-week session, defence day, was our best session this year. The boys were really clear, our energy's up and about," O'Brien said.
"We put it [the Gold Cost loss] to bed really quickly and moved on to Souths. We got the details in that we need to for Souths. The back-end of the week is just around our mentality and going and performing."
The Knights haven't been to the finals for seven years and several players are heading into unchartered territory.
However, O'Brien said the likes of captain Mitchell Pearce and veteran forward Aidan Guerra, who both won the 2013 premiership with the Roosters, had been providing some guidance.
"I can only judge on [the inexperienced players'] behaviour around the sessions this week and their mindset," O'Brien said.
"They're excited and looking forward to it. We've got a few guys that have had finals experience who they can go to, but look, all signs point towards them [being] in the right head space."
Rabbitohs v Knights - Elimination final
The Rabbitohs are coming off a 60-8 demolition of the Roosters in which five-eighth Cody Walker put on an attacking masterclass.
Newcastle beat South Sydney 20-18 in round 10 but were almost overrun in the final 15 minutes after leading 20-0, so O'Brien knows they can't afford any complacency.
"You've got to compete with and without the ball on Souths," he said.
"They can find points really quickly in clumps. They seem to be a team that if you want to rest on your laurels, they'll hurt you.
"It'll be the team that competes on every play [that wins]. That's what happens in finals. A team often loses in finals rather than wins it.
He added: "We've shown that our best is good enough. It's about being a consistent team starting this weekend."