Mitchell Pearce was one of two players left on the track, practising his kicking game with under-20s halfback Phoenix Crossland.
He finally left the training paddock after 45 minutes, but only after berating himself for missing four straight field goal attempts.
This is the “all-in” Mitchell Pearce – the Newcastle captain and halfback entrusted with leading the Knights out of arguably their worst chapter in history.
That’s why Pearce is embracing going above and beyond his role as skipper, stepping in as a de factor recruitment manager in the club’s chase for more players.
Ahead of the Knights’ clash against Gold Coast on Saturday, Pearce admits he has a key role in trying to speed up the club’s rebuild by helping lure other stars to the Hunter.
It’s a recruitment strategy fast taking over the NRL, an almost NBA-like hotline of players conversing behind the scenes in a bid to form the next super team.
“I’m sure there are some clubs where they don’t ask players at all and it’s very business – staff versus players,” Pearce tells AAP.
“But one of (Nathan Brown’s) best strengths as a coach is he empowers the leadership group. I’ve had a really big responsibility here and I’ve really enjoyed that.”
He says gone are the days where players are purely sold by the club’s chief executive.
“It’s more powerful if the player wants to come to the club and he’s hearing from a guy that he’s going to play with about what it’s like,” he says.
Pearce believes that when it comes to looking at a new destination, it boils down to three major factors – playing opportunity, income and lifestyle.
And following his experience over the past three months, the Knights tick all three boxes.
“I’ve got a place here now, bought it. I’m really enjoying it,” he says.
“You never know what’s going to happen after footy, whether you get a job somewhere else. There’s no doubt I could live here after I finish my career.”
Knights coach Nathan Brown is open about the club’s war chest of cash and opportunity, just waiting for an opportune moment to seize on an unhappy player at a club.
But it won’t be just on him to sell it.
“It’s something that’s happened more in this next generation, where good, experienced players who have played rep football help recruiters or CEOs recruit players,” Brown says.
“We saw last year David Klemmer and Aaron Woods – Woodsy went to Canterbury and teamed up with Klem because they’re tight from Origin.
“These personalities mixing, I think that has a huge impact on clubs today.”
STATS THAT MATTER
* The Titans have scored 26 points or more in five straight matches against the Knights – winning four of them.
* The Knights concede 28 per cent of their tries from kicks (highest in the league), while the Titans score the most from kicks with 30 per cent.
* If the Knights fail to score 20 points, it will be the first time in their history they have done in 12 straight games at home.