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Presser Points: AOB's thoughts on Cowboys clash

"Stick with us."

That's the message from our Head Coach Adam O'Brien, with the Knights sliding to a second straight loss in North Queensland.

Minus the likes of Kalyn Ponga, Bradman Best and Mitchell Pearce, not to mention being 16-0 down after 20 minutes, Newcastle put in a brave performance which very nearly saw them complete a comeback from a 16 point deficit for the second time in three weeks.

It's something O'Brien can use to sleep a little easier after a tough few weeks on the road.

AOB: 'Stick with us'

"The results not what we want and we're not where we want to be," he said after the game.

"But we're also working extremely hard and I'm confident we will come out the other side.

"There's some experience on the way."

That experience will come in the form of the aforementioned Ponga and Best, who O'Brien expects will return to the side next week after brief injury lay-offs.

"I'm hopeful Bradman and KP will come back (to face Manly)," O'Brien said.

"We've got some help coming back, but at the same time we're not waiting for that help.

Highlights: Knights comeback falls short in Townsville

"We need to get better at our craft individually at training."

With debutant Simi Sasagi playing in the centres and 4-gamer Brayden Musgrove on the opposite wing, O'Brien was pleased with their respective games while still admitting there was a long way to go for much of his developing squad.

"We will be better for it as a Club long term (giving these players experience)," he said.

"Everybody just needs to take a breath, including me.

"They're trying their backsides off, and sometimes a little bit too hard.

"But all they're doing is getting kicked in the guts and they don't need me doing it as well.

"We're on a path, but we've got some challenges as well."

Sasagi with a pass that Matt Gidley would stand and applaud