Newcastle have scrambled into the NRL's top eight for the first time since round three with a scrappy 16-14 win over Cronulla at Redcliffe.
In a Sunday afternoon game with huge ramifications for the finals, the Knights kicked their way to a third straight win to finish the round in seventh spot, overtaking Gold Coast and Canberra.
A Jake Clifford penalty with seven minutes to go was enough to grind out the win, dropping the Sharks to 10th on the ladder and fighting for their season with three weeks to go.
However, there are concerns for the Knights with Mitchell Pearce suffering a knock to his right shoulder early in the game.
The star halfback battled on through the pain, having returned just last week from a hamstring problem after earlier spending almost three months sidelined with a pec injury.
Knights co-captain Daniel Saifiti also went down with 12 minutes to go with a knee injury suffered when charging to the line with Sharks prop Aiden Tolman falling awkwardly on his leg.
The NSW prop attempted to play on with heavy strapping but he was taken off minutes later after making 92 metres and 22 tackles.
Any serious injury to Saifiti or Pearce would come as a huge blow to the Knights after spending most of the season injury depleted and now battling to play finals for the second year in a row.
The fight started early for the Knights with winger Enari Tuala scoring the fastest try of the season just 36 seconds into the game.
The Sharks coughed up possession from the kick off and three tackles later Tuala scored the first of his try double – the second of which levelled the scores at 12-all in the 46th minute.
The 22-year-old has score six tries in the last three weeks since being reunited with power centre Bradman Best on the Knights' left edge.
The fast start held false promise of a high octane clash but it soon descended into a scrap with tries to Jesse Ramien and Ronaldo Mulitalo putting the Sharks in front 12-8 at halftime.
Tuala's try was the lone four-pointer of the second half, with Clifford kicking two penalties to Braydon Trindall's one to get the Knights home.
To be assured a spot in the finals the Knights will now look to win their last three games against Canterbury, Gold Coast and Brisbane.
The Sharks face Wests Tigers, Brisbane and Melbourne, needing to win all three to be assured of a spot in the top eight.
Both sides will be hanging on the NRL's charge sheet on Monday morning.
Cronulla's Braden Hamlin Uele (dangerous contact) and Briton Nikora (dangerous contact) were both put on report, while Newcastle's Mitch Barnett (high tackle) and David Klemmer (crusher tackle) were also pinged.Internet Explorer Channel Network