The big occasions are for the special players.
And Mitchell Pearce was that special player in the eyes of relieved Knights fans last night after lifting his side to a crucial drought-breaking win over Parramatta at McDonald Jones Stadium yesterday.
After five losses in a row which had them sitting rock bottom, the stakes could hardly have been higher. Their predicament demanded a response. And there was any number of Knights players who stood up.
Under-fire hooker Danny Levi stripped back his game after a heart-to-heart last week with coach Nathan Brown. The instructions - no second guessing, just run the footy. In the first half an hour, he tore the Eels defence to threads.
Prop Daniel Saifiti did the hard yards to earn a starting spot and promptly went out there with the attitude that no-one will be taking it off him. Winger Shaun Kenny-Dowall was enormous, so too David Klemmer. The Knights didn't have a bad player.
But it was Pearce who looked for all money at times like he was channeling a certain former Knights halfback great, such was his competitiveness and sheer will to win.
His second half try that cemented the victory came from pure desire but his influence stretched far greater than just the game-sealer.
His attacking kicks in the first half produced a try for Lachlin Fitzgibbon, a near miss for Mitch Barnett and a couple of other repeat sets. Just as memorable was his defence and in particular a hit on Mitchell Moses and a ball-and-all tackle on Blake Ferguson that bundled the big Eels winger into touch. All the while, he pushed his team-mates.
"He drove the competitiveness and work-hard-for-each-other attitude all week, " Kalyn Ponga said. "He went out there and was an angry little fella but he was great. He drove things. Above all else, he just wants to win and he really led us from the front today. He rubbed off on all the boys."
Pearce said the pressure the club has been under and all the criticism from their indifferent start to the season had made the 80 minutes against the Eels personal for all the players.
"You have to find a dark side in footy don't you - find some purpose," he said. "It sounds ridiculous but you do and I thought, tonight we found a purpose on competing and playing for a cause as a team and we got a result."
Asked about the pressure and the barbs from the critics and fans, Pearce said: "I've been around long enough and had ups and downs and criticisms. You have to thrive on it. You have to enjoy it. You've got to look at yourself and what you can do better.
"We definitely needed that. We focused on competing hard and I thought we did that really well which built the game up and we got some decent tries off the back of it to start the game."
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Pearce heaped praise on coach Brown, who is the one who has really been in the firing line over the past few weeks.
"Browny touched on it this week. The best way when you are struggling and down on form is to compete and fight and then the footy comes off the back of it,"Pearce said.
"It's no secret Browny challenged our competitive side. And when you get challenged like that, you do get offended. That was obviously the motive."
The news wasn't all good out of the game for the Knights.
Centre Jesse Ramien left the field in the second half with a shoulder injury that potentially could see him miss a couple of games. To make that scenario worse, Tautau Moga injured his knee during the first half of the NSW Cup game.