Newcastle coach Wayne Bennett says the Knights have learnt a lot over the course of the season.

The side went down to the Sydney Roosters 40 points to 14 during Saturday night's preliminary final, and the Roosters will now take on Manly in Sunday's decider.

Bennett says his side has come a long way since last season.

"We've learnt a lot about ourselves," he said.

"We've learnt how to win, we've learnt what we've got to do, and now it's just about consistently applying it, which we did in the latter part of the season.

"It is getting those top players on the field as much as we can.

"All in all, I'm pretty pleased with what we've done.

"Hopefully we can come into next pre-season with a real purpose about what it means to play finals football and just how much better we've got to be."

Retiring Knight Danny Buderus spent Saturday night in a Sydney hospital as a precaution after being knocked unconscious during Saturday's game.

Bennett says losing the veteran player early on in the match did not really have an impact on the game.

"I can't put too much weight on it, in the sense that we were under the pump a fair bit by the time Danny left, so I couldn't say it was Danny alone that was stemming the tide because he wasn't," he said.

"They were just playing out of the skins and we were struggling to stay with them.

"We should have been down 20 plus points at half-time, rather than the 12.

"The other factor for us was that we didn't execute very well."

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