During the build up to the Manly game last week, Nathan Brown was asked about the personal pressure that comes with potentially facing a fourth straight defeat when expectations for success are high.
"Coaches don't coach for survival," he insisted. It's been a constant theme from Brown right through his often painful rebuild of the club over the past three seasons.
So no surprise the Knights coach, despite being under plenty of scrutiny after a tough start to the season, threw himself under the bus and accepted a share of the blame for the insipid opening 20 minutes from his side against the Sea Eagles that leaked 18 points and virtually crueled their chances of winning.
"I can't make any excuse for anything. I didn't see it coming, I didn't expect it," Brown said of his side's complete lack of energy and intent in defence early.
"When you get that lack of intensity, I can't make up any reason why it didn't happen.
"But it's not all on the players. When the players aren't turning up with the right intensity, it's easy to sit there and blame players all the time. As a coaching staff, we have to think where did we get it wrong."
Where Brown got it wrong was in attempting to publicly hand his players an out. They didn't deserve one.
Yes, when it comes to overall performance, the buck stops with the coach and his staff and ultimately, their survival in the job hinges on the win/loss column.
But professional players, earning massive money, have an obligation to turn up in the right frame of mind to perform at their ultimate. This was a clash at home against the old enemy in front of more than 21,000 fans, coming off the back of three straight defeats.
The team should have been desperate. Instead, they were pedestrian in all the effort areas of the game from the kick-off. Their defensive line speed was non-existent, their intent in the tackle poor and in that opening 20 minutes, Manly were made to look like premiership favourites as Addin Fonua-Blake, Jack Trbojevic and Daly Cherry-Evans did as they pleased.
That it took a high shot on skipper Mitchell Pearce late in the game for the Knights pack to find some real energy and suddenly start throwing their weight around only highlighted the poor attitude they took out there to start the game.
Brown has plenty of issues to deal with as he prepares for a now vital assignment on the Gold Coast against the Titans on Sunday.
He has lost one of his senior forwards, Aidan Guerra for a big chunk of the season with a bad lower leg injury.
His side's attack remains disjointed at best and a rabble at worst. He has concerns around the dummy half and five-eighth which have impacted on Pearce's form at halfback and the confidence of the team when they have the footy.
Their one out running and block plays out the back are being eaten up by rival defences and frustration is leading to mistakes.
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Before a ball was kicked this season, club legend Danny Buderus pin-pointed the challenge facing Brown with a host of new players.
"You don't become a great team overnight. To become a team, you have to go through experiences," he told the Newcastle Herald.
"You might have some bad losses, but you learn from them and come through it together. You don't want to go putting pressure on them to get results straight away."
Prophetic words. But the reality is the season has already reached a critical stage after just five rounds. The Knights need to find a win or two in a hurry.
A real show of commitment to the cause is the bare minimum expectation.