Mitchell Pearce concedes his side's execution in attack needs some work after the Knights stood toe-to-toe with competition leaders Parramatta for 80 minutes yesterday but failed to deliver a knockout blow.
In a tough, gritty contest dominated by the defence of both sides, Newcastle had enough good ball possession to win a couple of games but lacked the polish in attack to turn opportunities and half chances into points.
The Eels frustrated the Knights with their fast-moving, jamming defence on both edges with the home side unable to come up with a telling strategy to combat it.
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Many of their final tackle options close to the Eels line amounted to nothing with most kicks going dead or finding the feet of defenders.
While he was making no apologies about it, coach Adam O'Brien admitted his focus on getting all his side's defensive ducks in a row after the first half debacle against the Cowboys a fortnight ago had come, to a degree, at the detriment of their attack.
As a result, they have now scored just three tries in their past two games with two of those coming from hooker Andrew McCullough forcing his way over from dummy half.
Pearce, who is battling a knee strain, is the first to admit his side's attack needs some work.
"We had some effective stuff there are times and we had them stretched but execution probably let us down and errors," Pearce said.
"The skill level with decision-making and the last passes and finishing - there is definitely some stuff there that needs to be tidied up.
"On another day, Tau [Tautau Moga] may have nailed one of his chances over the line and probably only needed a bit of luck go his way and Tex [Hoy] at the end there is a step offside which could have taken it to golden point."
Pearce admitted he wasn't happy with the circumstances surrounding Eels winger Maika Sivo's crucial second half try that gave the visitors their 10-4 advantage.
The Knights skipper was penalised for a high shot on fullback Clint Gutherson before the Eels captain took a quick tap and caught the Knights defence napping to send his winger over.
Pearce remonstrated with referee Gerard Sutton after the try was awarded.
"I was filthy about it out there," Pearce said.
"Apparently, it's in the rules but my argument with the ref was that as the captain, I'm entitled to question the decision to give the penalty. A quick tap in that sort of moment - referees rarely allow it to happen.
"They normally give you time to get set. Over the last three or four years, I can't remember watching too many games where they allowed a team to play on, it's always brought back.
"That's why I was disappointed with it. But if it's the rules, it's the rules and we needed to react quicker and should not have allowed Gutherson to run straight through. But like I said, as captain, I thought I was entitled to at least chat to the ref about the decision and in that situation, be heard."
Pearce said the try and the way it was scored after the effort his side had put in was hard to take.
"It was a kick in the guts definitely," he said. "But at the end of the day, it's more frustrating that we created our opportunities and didn't take them. We didn't throw the knockout punch and they got the result through that so good luck to them.
"They are where they are for a reason but we can take a lot out of it because we know our attack can get a lot better.
"We should now be confident around our resilience in defence. We have been really strong in that area for a couple of games now.
"It's now about tidying up our attack and nailing our execution and turning our half chances into points."
Pearce said his knee strain is not serious but admits his side may have to do without prop Daniel Saifiti for a couple of weeks after he was forced off.
"It's disappointing but whoever comes in with do a job for us,"he said.