Committed and brave. Yes, it wasn't enough to take down the unbeaten Panthers last night but it was enough to suggest the Knights are still in the finals' race up to their ears.
The key for coach Adam O'Brien is getting that sort of effort from his players each and every week.
The Knights had to work for everything against a frugal Penrith side who showed why they are sitting alone at the top of the table without a blemish.
They gave the Knights nothing all night but the visitors hung tough until all the Panthers' pressure finally told late in the contest.
O'Brien will need to find a way to keep both Kurt Mann and Connor Watson at the club next season. The theory has been one may have to be sacrificed but they showed last night they need to be priority re-signings.
Mann was outstanding in both facets of the game while Watson continues to grow in his new lock role.
If there is a part of the Knights game that needs urgent attention it is the end of their attacking sets which let the side down for the second week in a row.
Meanwhile, Knights backrower Lachlan Fitzgibbon will be looking to make up for lost time in his pursuit of a new contract with the club when he returns from injury against the Sydney Roosters in nine days time.
Fitzgibbon missed the opening seven rounds of the competition after undergoing shoulder surgery during the pre-season but has been back in full training for the past couple of weeks and has been cleared for a return.
As one of a number of high profile players at the club coming off contract at the end of the season, his form over the remainder of the season will be pivotal when he sits down to negotiate a new deal.
Other off-contract Newcastle players include Connor Watson, Kurt Mann, Blake Green, Josh King, Enari Tuala, Hymel Hunt, Edrick Lee, Brodie Jones, Tex Hoy, Phoenix Crossland and Chris Randall.
Lee's management has already been told the club won't have the money under the salary cap next season to make him an offer following his Queensland Origin debut at the end of last season.
Prior to last night's clash against Penrith, Knights coach Adam O'Brien said he would be having a discussion with Fitzgibbon before deciding whether he returns through the NSW Cup or off the bench in the NRL.
"I want to talk to Fitzy first and we'll make a decision around what's best for him and what's best for the footy side after that,"O'Brien told the Newcastle Herald.
The likelihood is he will come off the bench in the top grade against the Roosters.
There was speculation veteran Green would be eased back from a serious knee injury in NSW Cup three weeks ago. It was spoken about before it was ultimately decided to use him for 30 minutes off the bench against the Dragons in the NRL game instead.
Fitzgibbon's return further eases the club's injury toll, which was as high as 11 a month ago. Halfback Mitchell Pearce [pec] and rookie fullback Bailey Hodgson [knee] are the only real long-termers. Winger Hunt, who missed last night's clash against the Panthers with a hamstring strain, could come under consideration for the Roosters game with his injury considered minor.
His regular wing partner Lee, who like Fitzgibbon is yet to play this season, is making strong progress in his rehab after breaking his foot during the first week of training after the Christmas break back in early January.
He's considered unlikely to be right to take on the Roosters but could come into contention the following week against the Canberra Raiders in Wagga.
Meanwhile, the club's high performance staff is taking a steady-as-she-goes approach with Dom Young.
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