The Newcastle Knights have relegated the Canberra Raiders to their sixth consecutive home loss with a 26-12 win in front of 9519 fans at GIO Stadium in Canberra.
In what was a close first half, the Knights looked the better team with ball in hand as late inclusion Jarrod Mullen added a strong kicking game and overall confidence boost to a Newcastle side that has lacked consistency and direction at times this season.
Despite this, it was the Raiders who scored first on 9 minutes when a set play down their left hand side resulted in Jarrod Croker getting over the line for the opening try of the match.
The Knights struck back soon after through James McManus in the 16th minute in what was almost a carbon copy of the Raiders opening try. The ball was played through the hands to the Knights left hand edge and Tyrone Roberts ensured scores were level when he added the extras from less than metre from the sideline.
The Raiders had a video referee decision go against them when Jarrod Croker dropped the ball over the line on the 30 minute mark. To rub salt into the wounds, the Knights then went down the other end and within 90 seconds Adam Clydesdale gave them the lead for the first time in the game.
Wayne Bennett wouldn't have been pleased when the Raiders were allowed to reply soon after through the barnstorming Shannon Boyd. The big man barged through some soft ruck defence in the 37th minute on the back of a penalty, and scored under the black dot to level the scores on half time.
The second half began with both sides making a number of unforced errors however the momentum of the match turned sharply in Newcastle's favour when James McManus made a break down field in the 48th minute. On the next play the Knights spread the ball to their right with Beau Scott finding space before finding the try line.
The Raiders became their own worst enemy with a number of unforced errors putting unneeded pressure on their defence and gifting the Knights good field position. The pressure finally resulted in points in the 60th minute when Joseph Leilua almost ran the length of the field before Dane Gagai scored on the next play with the Raiders defence unable to reorganise themselves in time.
The Raiders were unable to get back into the contest as the match turned into an arm wrestle and Tyrone Roberts kicked a 74th minute penalty goal to lock up the two points for the Novocastrians. The Raiders did have a chance to get back into the match late but a Jarrod Croker pass to an unmarked Ben Tupou was dropped cold with only the try line in front of him.
Despite a strong victory, Knights fans will be asking at what cost it has come, with Kade Snowden and Kurt Gidley both going off with head injuries during the match and Akuila Uate looking to have sustained a minor knee injury despite staying on the field.