Brad Arthur has refused to blame contract negotiations for his team’s shock loss to Newcastle on Sunday.
The Eels opened their new stadium at Parramatta a week earlier with a huge 51-6 win over Wests Tigers.
They were expected to beat the Knights but were instead given a footballing lesson.
Arthur and a number of his stars are yet to sign new deals including captain Clint Gutherson and Mitchell Moses.
“We can’t perform like that last week (against Wests Tigers) and it was the same talk last week. If we didn’t have any fight in us today, maybe,” Arthur said of the comeback that eventually saw the Knights win 28-14 after leading 20-0.
“But we’ve seen there was plenty of fight in the back end. We’ve just got to work harder to try and get the rub of the green and 50-50 every now and then.”
Arthur was adamant contract speculation had nothing to do with on-field performance.
“These blokes get paid to be professionals and roll up every week and put their bodies on the line and that’s why I was proud of them today.”