Knights fullback Kalyn Ponga.

The highlight reels have focused on the deft final passes that created tries for Edrick Lee and Hymel Hunt.

They were special plays by a gifted footballer and helped Newcastle establish a 10-8 half-time lead against the Dragons at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday night.

But Knights fullback Kalyn Ponga was more concerned with two moments later on that did not end so well and went a long way towards allowing the Dragons to snatch a 13-12 win.

"I felt pretty good out there but two touches don't make a game," Ponga said after Newcastle’s third straight loss.

Back at fullback after playing the first three games at five-eighth, Ponga looked comfortable and composed and all class as the extra man on Newcastle's attacking left edge, but the Dragons did a better job of controlling him the longer the game went on.

Under fatigue down the stretch, he pulled the wrong rein in the 73rd minute when he kicked for Lee just one tackle into a fresh set of six on the Dragons' 20-metre line.

The ball ended up over the touch-line after Lee could not keep it in play.

"That was probably the one I'm most disappointed with but it's a learning curve and next week, if I find myself in that position again, I’ll know what to do," he said.

The other one he would like back occurred midway through the first period of extra time, when he ran on the last tackle.

I felt pretty good out there but two touches don't make a game

Knights star Kalyn Ponga

When the ball ended up back in his hands after Lee and Lachlan Fitzgibbon scrambled to keep it alive, he had no choice but to kick it into touch to force a scrum.

Another lost opportunity. Another lesson learned.

"During the game I got on with it but after the game I was pretty disappointed with the decisions that I made, given the circumstances of the game," he said.

Knights coach Nathan Brown conceded tired players did not always make good decisions.

"He had some really, really good periods and he'll learn some stuff from the back period of the game as well," Brown said.

"It was tight, and if the refs keep doing what they're doing, we're going to see a lot of tired people and a lot of tight situations."

Knights captain Mitchell Pearce believed they were in control for significant, sustained periods against the Dragons but could not show enough collective composure in key moments.

"It would have been nice to come away with two points. It sucks, but we're heading in the right direction," Pearce said.

Pearce reflected on some words of wisdom from his former Roosters coach, Trent Robinson, and believed the Knights were in better shape than their 1-3 record might suggest.

"I've heard Trent Robinson talk about it a lot, and obviously I had a relationship with him at the Roosters and I respect Robbo's opinion around football and they're such a consistent side," he said.

"He always talks about the first six weeks is about building the house. I heard him speak the other night, and I reckon it's a pretty good outlook on the way you should start the season ... and we wanted to build our house through good defence."

"I feel like we've built a solid foundation so far, and we're trying to add bits and pieces. We spoke about the attack stuff, and I thought there were some better touches in a tight arm-wrestle type game, so we’ve just got to keep building the house."