IT was a line that stuck in my mind, from a season Knights fans would prefer to forget.
"It is disappointing to continually lose, and you do have a fear that people will get used to losing."
So said Nathan Brown, midway through his first campaign as coach of the Newcastle Knights.
Unfortunately for Brown and the players under his command, having to "get used to" defeat was inevitable and unavoidable during a period so bleak the term "rock bottom" was regularly redefined.
In Brown's first two years at the helm, Newcastle won six of 48 games, endured a club-record 19-game losing streak and added another two wooden spoons to the one they collected the season before his arrival.
Few clubs in rugby league history have reached such a low ebb, yet there was no panic from management, and no apparent pressure on Brown. This was all part of the plan.
Brown's rebuilding strategy sounded reasonable in theory. Clean out any overpaid dead wood to free up salary cap funds for a spending spree. Meanwhile retain and develop those rookies who survived their sink-or-swim initiation.
After the Nathan Tinkler-Wayne Bennett era, when it seemed immediate success was all that mattered, the Knights' new powers-that-be were content to play the long game.
The upshot was that for the best part of two seasons, in 2016 and 2017, it was almost as if results were irrelevant. I'm not saying that Brown's men weren't doing their best in each and every game.
But as the losses mounted, the club's attitude was perhaps best summed up by Brown, who after a 36-16 loss at Brookvale in 2016 said the Knights had "known we're going to finish bottom for a long time probably now''... even though there were still five games left in the season.
Moreover, four years later, when Brown announced he and the Knights were parting company, he revealed: "When I first came to the club I said to my wife, the starting spot where we were, we were definitely going to run last for the first two years."
Brown was perhaps just the ultimate pragmatist, who took over the incumbent wooden spooners and had a fair idea that the worst was still ahead of them.
But if the coach had little faith in his team winning games, and the club was backing the coach, I can't help wondering what message it sent to the young players who emerged in that demoralising period.
Their cause was not helped by the release of contracted players who could potentially have helped them compete - including Joseph Tapine, Tariq and Korbin Sims, Akuila Uate, Chris Houston, Jake Mamo, Adam Clydsdale and Tyler Randell - some of whom were paid to run around with rival clubs.
Brown, of course, was banking on his big-name imports to make a difference, not only on game day but also by setting new standards of professionalism at training.
So he signed players who were "used to winning" and had played at heavyweight clubs, hoping their experience would rub off on their new teammates. And to an extent it worked.
Brown certainly assembled a roster that, on paper, appeared capable of giving long-suffering Knights fans reason to cheer.
But, with the benefit of hindsight, I can't help comparing Newcastle's rebuild with the way Sydney Roosters and Melbourne Storm operate.
The Roosters and Storm have strong, settled squads, including a host of senior players who have won grand finals together.
New players who join those clubs are just cogs in a machine and have to adapt to the established systems and standards.
In contrast, under Brown, the theory was that he could simply import the leadership and winning culture by signing high-profile players with proven track records.
Those strategic recruits might have been used to winning at their former clubs, but bringing that to Newcastle, on a consistent basis, has been beyond them thus far. Ultimately that cost Brown his job.
Now his replacement, Adam O'Brien, is clearly wrestling with the same dilemma, querying after last week's 36-18 defeat by Wests Tigers whether losing habits were "ingrained" in his team.
Since then the Knights have lost again, 36-20 to North Queensland on Thursday night, and after four wins from 11 games, they are in danger of missing the top eight.
Battered by injuries, Newcastle play Manly (home), Parramatta (home) and South Sydney (away) in their next three games, and somehow O'Brien needs to restore confidence in his troops, before we have to start reading the last rites on their season.
O'Brien, of course, is learning on the run.
He's had one full season as a head coach in the NRL, steering the Knights into last year's play-offs to end a finals drought dating back to 2013.
He is perhaps only now starting to realise the enormity of the challenge he faces, with a roster that he largely inherited, at a club devoid of premiership success for 20 years.
Having worked previously as an assistant at Melbourne and the Roosters while both clubs were dominant forces, this is a totally different scenario.
Somehow he has to transform the Knights from a team used to losing into a team who used to lose.