Wests Tigers centre Kevin Naiqama pulled no punches about his side's performance against the Bulldogs on Friday night — expressing the overall disappointment about the opportunity that was missed to close the gap on the top eight.
Heading in to the game off the back of strong wins against the Dragons and Rabbitohs, a win from Ivan Cleary's side against the Bulldogs would have narrowed the gap to the eight-placed Warriors to just two points, but a sluggish 14-4 defeat ensured the gap would remain at four points for another round.
With just five games left in the regular season for Wests Tigers, Naiqama said the team was aware of the chance that had gone begging on the weekend but said the sole focus was on making amends this week.
"It was obviously really disappointing what we produced on the weekend," he said.
"We could have put ourselves in great stead heading in to the back end of the year. But unfortunately with the day and era that we're in, if you're off just a little bit, that's all it takes to lose the two points.
"The boys were pretty disappointed and looking to make amends this weekend.
"We could make a million excuses but at the end of the day, it's on us as players," Naiqama added.
"We're the ones that the coach has picked to do a job and on the weekend, we were pretty ordinary.
"I think everyone saw that and we know that as players as well.
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"But all we can do is what we did today — get back in and stuck in on the training field. We're looking forward to working hard and getting back on track hopefully this Friday night."
Standing in the way of Wests Tigers is a Newcastle side that have proven to be a tricky contender for a number of teams this season — particularly in front of their home fans at McDonald Jones Stadium.
A former Knight himself from 2010 to 2013, Naiqama said the pressure on his side to get the two points this Friday and keep their finals hopes alive was something he was looking forward to performing under.
"Newcastle have been really good this year with a lot of new recruits," he enthused.
"They've probably been unlucky with a number of close matches too.
"They're a really good attacking side and it's going to be a very tough game for us on Friday night.
"We have to focus on ourselves more than what we have in the Knights. We have to understand it's not going to be an easy game and they're a competitive side and can definitely put points on you. If we learn from last week's game and prepare well, though, there's no reason why we can't be able to compete."
See what Kevin Naiqama had to say in full about this week's game in the video above!