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A proud Newcastle Knights coach Wayne Bennett was elated with his sides performance during their 18-16 victory over the Melbourne Storm at AAMI Park on Saturday night.

I can be critical of certain aspects of that last 20 minutes but the part I am most proud of them about is the way they stayed at it, he said.

To keep Melbourne scoreless in that 15-20 minute period was quite exceptional when they had everything to play for as well as we did.

The stakes were hugely high, the last five minutes were tremendous, we controlled it great and didnt let them get anywhere down near our try line.

Bennett also said Saturday nights semi-final win was a huge step for the team, who now take on the Sydney Roosters in a preliminary final next weekend.

You cant beat Melbourne down here, have the history they have got, play off history and that type of stuff without doing a lot of things right," he said.

We probably got a little carried away with the way we put ourselves under pressure but I mean we got ourselves in a position to win the game and we didnt let go.

We were never behind all night, we stayed in front all night and that is not easy.

Despite a late knee injury to Tyrone Roberts, Bennett is confident he will be available for Saturdays preliminary final.

I dont think he is too bad, he limped in to the change room and had an icepack on him but he obviously carried on, the coach explained.

I think it is a bit of a hyper-extension so in a week he will probably be right.

The Knights had no other injuries to report and are hopeful of getting James McManus back for next weekends game, who was forced out of Saturday nights game with an ankle injury.

James was close to playing today but at the end of the day we made a decision not to play him so hopefully we get him back next week, Bennett said.

We were confident in Kevin (Naiqama), we just knew how good he is and are sorry to be losing him.

He deserves to be an NRL player and he cant be at our Club on a regular basis so we didnt lose any sleep over the fact that he was going to take his position there today.

He played tremendous.