The Newcastle Knights took one step closer to claiming the minor premiership, following a 34-30 win over the Parramatta Eels on Saturday at Hunter Stadium.
The win leaves the Knights at the top of the table, two points clear of the St George Illawarra Dragons, with one game left to play in the home and away season.
In a highly entertaining match with a nail-biting finish, halfback Jack Cogger was a standout for the home team with the winning try and plenty of clever link-up play.
The Knights were full of intensity in the early minutes, Chance Peni coming close on the right in the third minute only to be held up on the final tackle.
The Eels came close to scoring next, centre Fabian Goodall feeding the ball to Ryan Matterson only for the five-eighth to knock-on with points there for the taking.
In the eleventh minute Jake Mamo made the Eels pay for their mistake, showing his trademark pace to sprint 80 metres and score. Bryce Donovan slotted the conversion from straight in front of the uprights to make it 6-0.
The Eels found themselves with superior numbers on the right edge six minutes later, fullback Nathan Davis taking advantage to slip through two defenders and score. Halfback Zach Dockar-Clay added the extras to make it 6-6.
Following some strong build up play from skipper Danny Levi in the 22nd minute, Jaelen Feeney provided a neat grubber for Lachlan Fitzgibbon to collect and score.
Donovan again converted, making the score 12-6 with sixteen minutes to play in the first half.
The Eels' centre Fabian Goodall responded with a barnstorming run down the left, only for the Knights' defence to rally brilliantly and carry him over the touchline.
The Knights were unable to hold the Eels out two minutes later though, Matterson forcing his way over to score. Dockar-Clay narrowly missed the conversion, leaving the score at 12-10 with twelve minutes to play in the first half.
The Eels crossed over again five minutes later through Tyrell Fuimaono, following some slick build up play from fellow second-rower Jordan Muna. Dockar-Clay missed the conversion, the score 16-12 with five minutes to play.
Two minutes later Pauli Pauli was placed on report for a late hit on halfback Jack Cogger, the Knights' penalty putting them deep in opposition territory.
Fitzgibbon took advantage and notched up his second try of the day, receiving the ball from acting half James De Saxe to spin and score.
Donovan's attempted conversion was waved away, the score 16-16 as the halftime siren sounded.
The Eels built pressure early in the second half, Mamo again finding himself held up in goal following a Matterson kick.
The Eels were unable to capitalise from the dropout, Josh Birch breaking free on the right to gain valuable metres out of defence.
The Knights didn't look back from there, Bryce Donovan showing great strength to cross over on the left under pressure from four defenders.
While the winger scored, he also came off second best in the tackle and was forced from the field with concussion.
With the regular goal kicker out of action, Jaelen Feeney stepped up to the tee but was unable to convert from the sideline, the score 20-16 with seven minutes gone in the second half.
The Knights scored again four minutes later, Levi scooting over from dummy half on the right.
Braden Robson stepped up for the conversion this time, kicking perfectly from near the touchline to make the score 26-16.
The Eels struck back straight away, Goodall powering his way over in the left corner to score. Dockar-Clay's attempted conversion was waved away, the score 26-20 in the 64th minute.
The Eels struck again eight minutes later, Matterson breaking through to score his second. Dockar-Clay failed to convert, the score 26-24.
Straight from the kick-off the Eels were on the attack again, fullback Davis collecting a deflected kick to score under the uprights.
Dockar-Clay was able to convert from directly in front of the uprights, the score 30-26 to the Eels with fourteen minutes to play.
Despite the Eels' late resurgence the Knights were full of resilience, working the ball wide three minutes later for Josh Birch to score.
Robson stepped up for the conversion again, his kick narrowly sailing wide to leave the score at 30-30 with ten minutes to play.
With the clock ticking down the Knights came up with the decisive play, Chance Peni producing a grubber for Cogger to race through and score.
Robson was unable to convert, the score 34-30 with five minutes left on the clock.
A minute later, try-scorer Cogger was taken off on the medicab with an ankle injury. He will need scans this week to determine the extent of his injury.
The Knights held on with three minutes to play, to seal an impressive 34-30 victory.
Donovan was okay following the game but will need to pass concussion protocols this week.
Newcastle Knights 34 (T: Fitzgibbon 2, Mamo, Donovan, Levi, Birch, Cogger, G: Donovan 2/3, Feeney 0/1, Robson 1/3)
Parramatta Eels 30 (T: Matterson 2, Davis 2, Fuimaono, Goodall, G: Dockar-Clay 3/6)
Mamo, Donovan, Robson, Peni, Birch, Feeney, Cogger, Pakau, Levi (c), Yates, Fitzgibbon, Smith, Boyce. Bench: De Saxe, Petterson-Robati, Togiatasi, Taylor.