A Mitchell Pearce field goal late in extra time helps the Knights to a solid 19-18 opening round win over rivals Manly at McDonald Jones Stadium.
A spirited and revamped Knights side have got off to a brilliant start after taking 89 minutes to topple a somewhat ill-disciplined Manly outfit.
The Knights started strongly, helped somewhat by back to back penalties, leading to a great piece of solo work by new fullback Kalyn Ponga, who got on the outside of Sironen and crashed over for a good try. He then converted with a lovely curling conversion.
Five minutes later, Manly went on the attack, with a good string of catch, draw and pass on the left side which left the Knights short and Taufua strolled over for a good team try. Cherry-Evans lined up on the sideline, looking into the sun, with the big Knights crowd offering their thoughts behind him and converted to level the scores after 10 minutes.
The quality of the play wobbled somewhat for the rest of the half. The last half hour of the first half saw 8 penalties and 8 scrums (from sloppy play) take place.
With 8 minutes left in the half, another Knights new recruit Slade Griffin scored a tough try when he barged over from dummy half, hit the defence and spun to ground the ball. Ponga again converted.
But as they did earlier in the half, Manly struck back shortly after when Koroisau gave a nice short ball to Lane, close to the Knights line and the lanky back rower scored next to the upright. DCE converted again and both sides went to the break tied at 12.
Manly struck first in the second half after a great run by Kelly, who threatened to pass to Taufua. The defence hung off him and Kelly scored out wide. Cherry-Evans failed to convert.
Ten minutes later the Knights returned favour through a great short ball to Fitzgibbon who barged over for a try near the sticks. Ponga converted to give the home side a 2 point lead.
Newcastle dominated field position and possession for the majority of the half, but it was an unfortunate penalty against the Knights for being offside after a charged down kick that allowed Cherry-Evans to kick a great penalty goal from 38 metres out to send the game to golden point.
Golden point saw several field goal attempts by both halfbacks but it was new half and captain Mitchell Pearce who slotted the match winner late in the second half of golden point.
Newcastle will head to Canberra next Sunday evening for their second round clash, while Manly will look to regroup the same day when they host Parramatta at Brookvale.