A shattered Kurt Gidley couldn’t even bring himself to thank his home crowd for turning up after Newcastle’s 30-28 loss to Cronulla on Sunday afternoon.
The Knights twice threw away a 10-point lead and gave up three tries in a seven-minute period to fall to their ninth loss in 10 games, leaving them in a share of last spot on the NRL ladder.
The Newcastle skipper had some choice words for his side’s performance in the post-match press conference, but was left speechless when it came to walking off the ground and facing their supporters.
Asked whether he had a message for a frustrated fanbase, Gidley said: “Not at the moment.
“I wasn’t comfortable in thanking them anyway for their support.
“Although deep down I do thank them for turning up and supporting us, but I didn’t feel comfortable waving to them and thanking them today because I wasn’t happy with our performance in the second half.”
The Knights earned themselves a 16-6 lead when Sharks five-eighth Jack Bird crossed on the halftime buzzer.
But a sensational tap-back from Jake Mamo for Carlos Tuimavave early in the second half restored their 10-point advantage.
And it seemed the home side were on their way to securing a sorely-needed win.
However a vintage Luke Lewis try from the wing and the introduction of Sharks supersub Ben Barba kickstarted an avalanche of points and by the 58th minute mark, a stunned Knights team were staring at an eight-point hole.
It was a self-destruction that left Gidley lost for words after the game.
“It was just completely unacceptable from my point of view,” he said.
“How much more motivation do you need? Playing at home, we’re up by ten, we achieved some of the things we wanted to achieve in the first half.
“And the second half, it was an embarrassment. At home, in front of our fans, family and whoever else is here watching, sponsors and whatever else.
“That’s the toughest one to cop today, that’s for sure.”
Sharks coach Shane Flanagan said Barba’s influence on the match would give the struggling fullback some much-needed confidence after a mixed first half to the season where he has failed to nail down a starting spot.
“He had a fair impact there, I thought,” Flanagan said.
“He had a hand in the Luke Lewis try and scored one himself.
“Everyone’s talking about Benny getting his confidence back so that would be a fair shot in the arm.
“It wasn’t planned but Sosaia Feki strained his knee there again and he wasn’t feeling really comfortable at halftime.
“It gave me the opportunity to get him out there and it worked.”