A try in the dying seconds has cost the Newcastle Knights victory in a trilling 40-38 loss against the Manly Sea Eagles at Brookvale Oval on Monday night.
The Knights led 38-34 in the 39th minute, before the Sea Eagles scored a brilliant solo try via fullback Tom Trbojevic to seal a stunning win.
While the men in red and blue didn't get the two points, they showcased a heap of heart without their three main playmakers Sione Mata'utia (rested) and Jake Mamo and Joseph Tapine (NRL).
Captain Danny Levi was outstanding with two tries, while centre Chance Peni impressed with a hat-trick.
The two-point loss was the NYC team's first defeat for the 2014 season.
The Knights have the bye next weekend to regroup for the backend of the season.
Newcastle made a number of positional changes prior to kick-off.
Bradie Smith replaced a rested Sione Mata’utia in the centres.
Pride Petterson-Robati moved from the back-row to the halves, with Jacob Gagai moving to fullback to replace Jake Mamo (NRL).
Josh King and Jah Pakau were elevated to the starting front-row, while Tuiala Togiatasi and Joe Boyce started on the bench.
Former Warriors prop James Taylor made his on debut for the Club off the bench.
The Knights opened the match with a number of basic mistakes, allowing Manly quality field position.
Newcastle stayed strong though led by their resilient on line defence.
This power was only short lived though when Manly opened the scoring after nine minutes via fullback Tom Trbojevic.
The younger brother of NRL forward Jake beat three defenders in a slashing 40 metre run to the line.
Centre Luke Garner added the extras from in front to give the home side an early 6-0 lead.
Manly extended their lead after 24 minutes following another try to fullback Tom Trbojevic.
The home side was full of running in the opening exchanges and extended their lead in the next set following a 50 metre sideline run from winger Jesse Ramien.
Garner missed the goal from the sideline, but it was the Sea Eagles who had jumped out to a 10-0 advantage with 25 minutes left in the first half.
Newcastle looked rusty early, but hit back after 15 minutes when centre Chance Peni barged over from close range.
Winger Bryce Donovan hit the upright with the conversion, but the Knights were back in the contest trialling 10-4 with 20 minutes left in the first stanza.
Manly extended their lead after 24 minutes following another try to fullback Trbojevic.
Garner converted to give the Sea Eagles a 16-4 with 13 minutes left in the first half.
Manly may have looked comfortable, but Newcastle refused to go away and crossed after 28 minutes through Jaelen Feeney.
Donovan converted to bridge the deficit to 16-10 with 10 minutes remaining in the first half.
The Knights were building momentum through the middle and locked the scores at 16-all minutes later after a barrowing run from skipper Danny Levi.
Manly had the dream start to the second half when winger Ramien grabbed his second try with a powerful run to the line. Garner converted to give the home side a 22-16 lead.
Newcastle quickly responded five minutes later though via back-rower Lachlan Fitzgibbon, while Donovan added the extras to once again lock the scores at 22-all with 30 minutes left.
The Knights hit the lead after 60 minutes when Levi dived over for his second try. Donovan converted from in front to give the men in red and blue a 28-22 advantage with 19 minutes remaining.
Newcastle extended their lead just minutes later via Peni, who picked up a Manly drop ball to score. Donovan converted to give the Knights a handy 34-22 with 15 minutes left.
Manly remained calm though and got themselves back in the game after a brilliant solo run of 50 metres from centre Charlie Taylor. Garner converted from the sideline to reduce the Knights' lead to 34-28 with 13 minutes on the clock.
The Sea Eagles were coming home strongly and levelled the scores at 34-all following Trbojevic's third try and a sideline conversion to Garner.
Newcastle kept their composure and crossed with just five minutes left via Peni, who dived over for his third try. Donovan missed the kick, but the Knights had a slender four-point lead with three minutes on the clock.
The Knights looked home, but had their hearts broken when Trbojevic did it all himself to score. Garner kicked the conversion on the full-time siren to give the Sea Eagles a remarkable 40-38 victory.
Newcastle Knights 38 (T: Peni 3, Levi 2, Feeney, Fitzgibbon, G: Donovan 5/7)
Manly Sea Eagles 40 (T: Trbojevic 3, Ramian 2, Taylor, G: Garner 6/7)
Gagai, Donovan, Smith, Peni, Birch, Petterson-Robati, Feeney, King, Levi (c), Pakau, Fitzgibbon, Ponkekas, Yates. Bench: De Saxe, Togiatasi, Boyce, Taylor.