If Kodi Nikorima needed a reminder of the scale of work to be done at Mt Smart, he got it yesterday.
The new recruit was in the stands as the Knights came, saw, and conquered, defeating the Warriors 36-18, a score that probably flattered the home side.
No one expects the Kiwis halfback to turn everything around — though he will make a big difference — but he had a first-hand view of what makes the Warriors such a bemusing team.
On a sunny afternoon, in front of a bumper crowd, coming off a gutsy display in Melbourne and with some big names back, the scene was set for a vintage display.
Instead, the team was strangely flat from the start and never regained the initiative, despite coming back to 18-18 with 25 minutes to play.
Coach Stephen Kearney said the Knights simply wanted it more.
"The Knights came here with a real intention, a real purpose about controlling the ruck. They did that better than us and that's a physical attitude area which we didn't match. They wanted it a bit more than we did."
So is he worried about the team's confidence?
"Yes, I am, but there is only one way to get it back," said Kearney. "There is only one way to find your confidence and that is to work your way through it. That's the only way I know. We got dealt a blow ... a team came here and beat us up a bit."
It's only May but already a long way back after their fourth defeat on the bounce. The home side should have been desperate for the result, but the Knights always looked more likely. They had more power, passion and precision, while the Warriors had no real answer.
The situation is not irretrievable — and Nikorima will help — but the pressure grows with each week.
It was a patchy effort with some good moments but not nearly enough. David Klemmer was an almost unstoppable force in the middle of the park, and his 'follow me' effort gave the Knights momentum.
And Newcastle had more intensity, more desire and more people willing to do the one per centers, while the Warriors looked for teammates to do the dirty work.
Newcastle opened with an early penalty converted by Kalyn Ponga, then Mitchell Pearce sliced through from close range. Everyone in the stadium knew he would try it but the Warriors were unable to stop it and it set the tone for the day.
When the Warriors finally got some momentum, they got an instant result, with Roger Tuivasa-Sheck creating a hole for Patrick Herbert.
The Warriors were back in the contest but Pearce was in control, playing the game in a dinner suit. Lack of kick pressure allowed a pinpoint bomb for the Knights' second try, reeled in by a leaping Shaun Kenny-Dowall ahead of Ken Maumalo.
Kearney's men had their opportunities but they were spoilt by clunky execution, before Maumalo's try finally turned some pressure into points, after Hiku knocked back a Green bomb. The big winger drew the Warriors level early in the second half after a show-and-go from Tohu Harris created space.
But the Knights always looked the better side and their third try summed up the Warriors' day; their defensive line was stationary as Newcastle went from side to side near the posts, before Sione Mata'utia busted two tackles to score.
Knights 36 (Mitchell Pearce, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Sione Mata'utia, Hymel Hunt, Kalyn Ponga tries; Ponga 4 cons, 4 pens)
Warriors 18 (Ken Maumalo 2, Patrick Herbert tries; Chanel Harris-Tavita 3 cons). Halftime: 16-12.