KNIGHTS coach Adam O'Brien insists the Melbourne Storm are beatable but says the main task for his players at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday will be simply to win back the respect of their fans.
Only the most staunch and parochial of supporters will give Newcastle any chance on Sunday, considering the form lines of the two teams.
The Knights are coming off five consecutive defeats, including a 39-2 loss to Parramatta last week that skipper Kalyn Ponga described as "embarrassing".
The Storm, in complete contrast, have dropped only one game all season and on Monday night equalled their club-record winning margin with a 70-10 demolition of the Warriors.
Adding to the daunting odds stacked against Newcastle, international centre Dane Gagai (fractured cheekbone) has joined their long list of casualties.
The Storm are not surprisingly $1.07 favourites with TAB to extend their winning streak against the Knights to 11 games. In the line betting, Newcastle have been given 20.5 points start.
O'Brien said the Knights' main objective on Sunday will be redeem themselves after such a lacklustre showing last week in front of 25,169 fans - their biggest home crowd in almost three years.
"The No.1 priority is to restore some pride, individually and as a team," O'Brien said. "The result will take care of itself.
"If we put in enough effort, in our own performance, and rectify a few things, as I've said before, this town will be proud of us, regardless.
"They just need to see us put in a lot better effort than we did last week. That's the No.1 focus point."
Asked if he felt the Storm were beatable, O'Brien replied: "I think anyone is beatable on their day.
"That's the beauty of our competition. There are certainly teams that are a lot more consistent up the pointy end of the ladder, but anyone is beatable ...
"If you put your mind to something, you can achieve anything."
O'Brien said there was "a fair bit of hurt in the room" after Sunday's loss, but self-pity would achieve nothing.
"We can sit around feeling sorry for ourselves, or we can get on with it, and I expect that's what tough people do," he said. "They get on with it."
While a host of Knights are yet to play in a winning team against Melbourne, O'Brien said there was no point dwelling on that.
"We know what sort of team is coming into town," he said.
"We can sit there and build the mountain up too high, the more we talk about them ... if we sit there and think not mountain is not conquerable, then it won't be."
He has reminded his players that, barely a month ago, they scored three tries with 12 men against premiers Penrith, after having back-rower Mitch Barnett sent off. Even though they lost 38-20, he was proud of them.
"Regardless of who we play, we need to rectify what happened on our home ground last week," he said.
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