The fans have spoken.
This time last year when we posed the question where the biggest improvements needed to come for the Knights to become a genuine force in the NRL, defence was the area that dominated the discussion.
It remains a big issue with only three rivals - Titans, Dragons and Warriors - finishing 2019 with worse defensive records.
But 12 months on, the fans' biggest beef with their team has now shifted after a strong position on the premiership ladder at the halfway point was butchered over the final 10 weeks when they won just two games.
Now it's attitude, resolve, pride in the jersey and leadership that have become the buzz words with supporters, whose disillusionment at the end of another failed campaign was borne out when a crowd of only just over 8,000 turned up for their side's last home game, albeit on a dismal afternoon weather-wise against the Titans.
So what needs to change if the team is to finally break its finals drought, where will the improvement come and who has the blow-torch on them with just over three weeks to go before pre-season training kicks off under new coach Adam O'Brien.
Quite simply, it stunk in quite a few games last season. When the chips were down and some good, old-fashioned steel and resolve was needed, far too many players went missing in action. Where was the pride in the jersey, pride in performance?
There is nothing worse for a player than to be described as mentally weak and to have your character questioned but the team left itself open for such criticism several times.
The first half against the Gold Coast in round six when they trailed 22-0 against the eventual wooden spooner, second half capitulations against the Sydney Roosters [48-10 in round 18] and Manly [30-6 in round 20] and an embarrassing final round 54-10 flogging from Penrith were cases in point.
But there was no greater example than the 46-6 hammering from the Wests Tigers in round 23 when the side had so much to play for. All things considered, it was right up there among the worst defeats in the club's history.
Strong leaders are generally the ones who promote strong cultures. Aside from a couple of incidents late last year, Knights players have definitely cleaned up their act off the field.
But there is no doubt skipper Mitchell Pearce and his leadership group have it all to do, along with the new coach and his staff, to change the soft on-field mentality that led to so many unacceptable performances.
It will be up to Pearce and the likes of Tim Glasby, David Klemmer, Mitch Barnett, Sione Mata'utia and Lachlan Fitzgibbon to set the required standards at training.
Clearly, they need to be considerably higher than last season.
What a great challenge awaits rookie coach O'Brien. Much has been made of the fact he is a coaching graduate of two of the best systems in the NRL - Melbourne Storm and Sydney Roosters.
He has worked closely alongside the best coaches [Craig Bellamy and Trent Robinson] after being schooled in the lower grades early on by the Eels' Brad Arthur. But it's also been pointed out he has never coached his own side so is that a gamble?
O'Brien's greatest test will come in how he goes about changing the team's losing mentality and their frailties under adversity when things get tough. That those who know him say he will bring a Bellamy-like hard edge to the club is a good sign.
How successful he is in that regard and how quickly his methods produce consistent results are key.
Former coach Nathan Brown has left behind a quality roster. O'Brien has already told club officials not to talk down the Knights' chances in 2020 because he believes he is inheriting a top four squad.
So far, the changes have been minimal. The one big addition is Sharks hooker Jayden Brailey. On the debit side, missing from this year's top 30 will be Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Jamie Buhrer, Nathan Ross, Slade Griffin, Steve Stone and Zac Woolford.
Stone departed for the Titans mid-season and along with Woolford, didn't crack the top grade with the club last season while Ross and Griffin were also non-contributors because of injury.
Doubts remain over the futures of Danny Levi and James Gavet, who are both still contracted, so the three spots left to fill in the squad for next season could rise to five.
Two of those spots are likely to be taken up by a backrower and outside back but clearly, the general consensus among fans is the club needs an established five-eighth to partner Pearce in the halves.
Pick a squad and stick to it as much as possible. The inconsistent form of several players last season made life difficult for Brown, who was often criticised for chopping and changing his spine in particular, making it difficult to develop strong combinations.
Pearce had five different partners in the halves at various stages with the failed Kalyn Ponga to six experiment to start the season throwing Brown's plans astray. The utility value of Kurt Mann and Connor Watson was also arguably a negative at times because of the temptation to use them in a number of positions for a quick fix.
Who O'Brien decides to play in the halves alongside Pearce will be one of the most intriguing questions asked during the countdown to the season opener next year.
Finally, the club's development focus under Brown and strengthened since the Wests Group took ownership is about to bear fruit with the first batch of young talent ready to push for NRL selection on a consistent basis.
Heading that list is outstanding young centre Bradman Best, who played the final three games of last season, not long after turning 18 and becoming eligible. Playmaker Phoenix Crossland and winger Starford To'a were other teenagers to get a taste.
Gifted back Tex Hoy, brilliant youngster Simi Sasagi and 21-year-old props Pasami Saulo and Jirah Momoisea will push their claims and don't be surprised if crafty young hooker Luke Huth doesn't get an opportunity at some stage.
The Knights averaged home crowds of just over 19,000 last season, a staggering figure given their playing record in front of their fans as McDonald Jones Stadium over the past five years.
Since the start of the 2015 season, Newcastle has won just 19 games from 60 appearances at home at a win rate of just 31 percent. While the losses have mounted up, the fans have kept coming regardless.
In 2019, they won six of 12 to split their games at home. An improvement, sure, but the club needs to be aiming at a minimum of nine wins at least from 12 home games if they are genuine about a top four finish.
Twitter fans have their say on how the Knights improve in 2020.
- Where? Must win a high percentage at home ground. How? Aggressive edge defence, particularly our right edge. Very optimistic about juniors stepping up. @dennisdureau
- STABILITY. If we have to suffer another cleanout because the squad doesn't suit the coach's style, I'll go postal. HUMILITY. Get the big egos putting in for 80 minutes every week. And promote from our juniors. @HullKiwi
- If everyone puts in the same amount of effort David Klemmer does week in, week out, would be a good start. @SeymourSkinnerz
- Mentality of whole club needs to change, been incredibly poor for decades, from CEO to players needs much more professionalism. @BPurser123
- Sign Jackson Hastings @Sherpasherpa81
- A five eighth such as Blake Austin or Jackson Hastings to partner Junior. Get back to being a family club and promote local talent. @brookyhater
- How they respond to being labelled mentally weak by the club's greatest player. Surely that's motivation to prove otherwise. @MaxMckinney
- Reward our great supporters and turn our home into a fortress. Also need to improve out attitude. @carsie23
- It starts with management and O'Brien. We get the culture and expectations of players in place first. It begins and ends with attitude. @TA61978
- Need to buy a 6 and some wingers/centres. @bozza1970
- Our big names need to check their big egos and actually live up to the hype. @notelvey05
- Stop chopping and changing the spine every week. @AlexWil22177684
- Need an actual five-eighth to help Pearcey. @timmy_tahs16
- All we need is some of what we used to be made of, what the late Allan McMahon and Robert Finch built the club on. Steely defence, toughness. @NovaClarkstrian
- We need a GRIT and GROWTH mindset. It's about local town, local team. It's about heart, about showing up and staying around the ground after a win or a loss. It's love. It's family, it's our team. That trumps everything. The other factor - hope. Let's go in 2020. @BreeseTracey