Knights backrower Lachlan Fitzgibbon has revealed the emotion surrounding the belief his finals' dream was over this season was responsible for his flood of tears after the side's loss to Parramatta last weekend.
In a sombre Knights dressingroom following the 20-14 defeat, a visibly shaken Fitzgibbon showed just how much club success means to him when he was unable to contain his emotions. He was too distressed to speak to waiting media.
Like several of his teammates after the game including skipper Mitchell Pearce, Fitzgibbon was of the firm belief the Eels game was do-or-die from the point of view of playing in the finals. It wasn't until after a few other results went the Knights way over the weekend did he realise all was not lost.
"I was pretty upset and emotional after the game knowing for the last few years, we have been building for something good and this was supposedly meant to be the year," Fitzgibbon said.
"It's been tough. I don't know how many games in my NRL career I've won but it's probably not many. After three wooden spoons and 11th last year, we were looking pretty promising this year. It was a major goal for us to play in the eight and at the time on the weekend when I thought those hopes and dreams had come crashing down for another year, it was pretty upsetting.
"We have been building for something good and this was supposedly meant to be the year. It still can be, we haven't written it off just yet but as a player, it's upsetting and as myself, I've said it many times, I'm a fan as well of the Newcastle Knights and not only a player. So I feel from the fans side of things and they have every right to be kind of upset too."
Fitzgibbon said the Eels' result had a demoralising effect on everyone within the squad and the mood reflected that.
"It was a bit down after the game and over the next couple of days but there's no point being down, you have to get up and dust yourself off," he said.
"It's a bit of a cliche but we are on again next week and as results panned out over the weekend, our season isn't over as everyone probably thought. If we win these next four games, we are every chance of getting in there."
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Fitzgibbon urged fans not to desert the team in its hour of need.
"Don't give up on us yet," he said. "The way we played against Parramatta on the weekend, we probably win over the last month of footy three of the five games. They were just pretty good on the night. They played some of their best footy.
"But if we show up with that type of energy and that commitment in defence and fix up a few things in our attack, I think we can go a long way to winning the next month of footy. Like I said, we are still in with a fighting chance because the results went our way. It's the silver lining in it all."
Meanwhile, Josh King has been named in the starting side at lock for Saturday's clash against the Cowboys with Tim Glasby out with concussion. In a further change, Connor Watson replaces Danny Levi at hooker with Levi back to the extended bench. Prop Herman Ese'ese has been promoted to the bench after playing NSW Cup last Saturday.