They didn't come up trumps on the scoreboard but the Wests Tigers found a silver lining in Saturday's 26-16 trial loss to the New Zealand Warriors.
The Tigers were in the hunt at half-time but trailed by as many as 20 in the second half before crossing for two late tries.
New coach Michael Maguire will be busy over the next fortnight preparing his team for their season-opening clash with Manly at Leichhardt Oval.
Tigers fullback Moses Mbye was encouraged by the effort against the Warriors but admitted there is still work to be done.
"It's a step in the right direction and the boys can take a lot out of it," Mbye said.
"We wanted to replicate what we want to bring into round one attitude-wise and game plan-wise. We didn't manage to execute the way we wanted to because the Warriors out-energised us and out-played us. They turned up to play and played with intent.
"There was a lot of scrappy things around our game today. Our high notes and end of sets weren't up to scratch.
"We get to blow the cobwebs out and that's what trials are about - getting that game speed and game fitness. But in a couple of weeks we're playing for two points so we've really got to get it together."
The Warriors scored five tries to three in the trial at Whangarei's Northland Events Centre - the final dress rehearsal for both teams before the 2019 seasons kicks off.
Maguire started Robbie Farah at hooker and teamed Luke Brooks with Benji Marshall in the halves, with Josh Reynolds used off the bench in the second half.
He said he will weigh up the pros and cons of both Marshall and Reynolds before settling on a regular scrum-base partner for Brooks, the 2018 Dally M Halfback of the Year.
"They're two very capable, experienced players and I'll look at the video and assess which way we want to go," Maguire said.
"They're both quality men and I'll have to make a decision in the next two weeks on how we can best complement them with the team."
After joining the Tigers in November, McGuire said spending time in New Zealand sped up the bonding process.
"The trip's been really positive," he said.
"It was a good opportunity to get a bit closer to the players from a relationship point of view."