Newcastle coach Adam O'Brien insists his side aren't about to get the yips as the club's first finals series in seven long years approaches.
The Knights turned in their worst performance of the year last week against the Warriors, flogged 36-6 by a team with every excuse to be struggling.
Friday's clash with Cronulla now shapes as crucial in both team's seasons, with the winner virtually guaranteed a top-eight spot.
The loser however will begin feeling some pressure, with the ninth-placed Warriors beginning the round four points off Cronulla in eighth and five behind the Knights.
Newcastle have not made the top eight since 2013, and in the time since have had three coach changes and picked up three wooden spoons.
But they do at least have 13 players in their squad with finals experience, and O'Brien is confident the seven-year slog to return the Knights to the top eight was not showing.
"I don't think it was a factor last week," O'Brien said.
"We haven't spoken about the finals, we're not there yet. We're keeping our focus solely on the Sharks tomorrow night.
"I would be hugely surprised if that was why we turned up the way we did last week."
While Newcastle won three on the trot before the Warriors loss, they were far from convincing in the previous victories over Manly and North Queensland.
Phoenix Crossland will return this week on the bench, while lock Mitchell Barnett has also been cleared of any serious sternum injury and will play.
O'Brien said he did not consider wholesale changes after the loss, after previously threatening to wield the axe earlier this year when his side were shocked by Canterbury.
"I'm more inclined to give guys a second go at it," O'Brien said.
"If you only make changes all the time and chop blokes off at the knees, you never know the bounce back you could have got.
"If I've done something wrong I like the chance to fix it. That's the way I've gone this week."
STATS THAT MATTER
* Newcastle have won eight of their past nine against Cronulla.
* The Knights' 19 tries from kicks this year are the most in the NRL.
* Eight of Cronulla's last 10 matches have been decided by 10 points or more.
Stats: Fox Sports