Trent Robinson saluted the character of his Sydney Roosters after they put a tumultuous 48 hours behind them to book a place in the NRL grand final against Manly.
Saturday's 40-14 win over Newcastle at Allianz Stadium in front of a crowd of just under 38,000 was an impressive way to respond after three of their players were linked with banned substances in a story published on Thursday.
Two tries apiece from Michael Jennings and Aidan Guerra in addition to efforts from Daniel Tupou, Jake Friend and Mitch Aubusson saw off the Knights, who finished strongly with two late tries from Joey Leilua against his former club.
Robinson admitted it had been the most challenging week of his short career but gave credit to his players for putting the headlines behind them and getting the job done against Wayne Bennett's side.
"It was a challenging week and it was the players that got us through," Robinson said.
"They knew it was wrong to put those guys on the front page and they supported them quickly.
"There's a lot of pessimism in our sport about what happens in our game and the guys knew what they did, they were happy with what they'd come to and the boys decided to get going on Thursday morning.
"They came in, talked about it and the way those guys played today was impressive."
Knights coach Bennett said his side struggled to cope mentally with the loss of Danny Buderus, who was carried off on a medicab midway through the first half having been knocked out by a rushing Jared Waerea-Hargreaves.
The former NSW skipper regained consciousness before leaving the ground but was taken to hospital and kept overnight as precaution.
"A lot of his mates are upset he has such an impact on the club and he is rated so highly by everybody he plays with," Bennett said.
"It's probably the most upset I have seen blokes coming off a footy field."
Despite the loss, Bennett said he was proud of the way his men responded and didn't fold after the Roosters blew them away with a 14-minute, second-half spell that yielded four tries.
"I was really pleased with them, everything was going against them," he said.
"For seven or eight minutes in the second half we were matching them and then we got an awkward bounce go against us ... and they go down the other end and score.
"We dropped a ball here and missed a couple of tackles there. But I was pleased with the way we finished and it showed why they've finished like they did.
"They have a lot of good qualities."