For the first time in more than 20 years rugby league coaching legend Wayne Bennett is all but certain not to be involved in the NRL finals series.
Despite that the Newcastle coach insists 2012 isn't a lost year.
Bennett took over at the Knights at the start of the season amid much predictions of a top-four finish.
While that hasn't eventuated, Bennett insists his side can still take plenty from a year in which they emerged late in the season as finals contenders.
Sunday's 42-20 loss to Manly essentially put paid to the Knights' finals chances and Bennett will watch the September action from afar for the first time since 1991, when his Brisbane side finished seventh under a top-five finals system.
Newcastle suffered five successive mid-season losses to be possible wooden-spoon contenders, before winning six of eight games ahead of the defeat to defending champions Manly.