In some torrential conditions at Cbus Super Stadium on Sunday afternoon the NYC Newcastle Knights fought back from a 10-0 half-time deficit to defeat the the Gold Coast Titans 19-18.
Following a disappointing second-half capitulation to the Cowboys in North Queensland last week, the Knights rediscovered their never-say-die attitude against a side that had been undefeated in the competition so far.
Both teams struggled with the heavy rain in their opening sets, coughing up possession.
It was the home side that managed to find some consistency afterwards, as the young Knights conceded a number of penalties that allowed their opponent several early opportunities in attack.
The Knights clung on though, and eight minutes in captain Danny Levi tried to burrow over from dummy half only to be penalised for a double movement.
Two minutes later the Titans made no mistakes at the other end of the field, Jed Cartwright slicing through the defence to put the ball down in the left corner. Shaun Hudson missed the sideline conversion, leaving the score at 4-0.
The Knights almost hit back straight away but Central Coast product Daniel Saifiti was ruled to have been held up over the line.
12 minutes later the Titans struck again, Anthony Colman scoring under the posts thanks to a big break through the middle by Brayden Torpy. Hudson made no mistakes with his conversion this time, pushing the score to 10-0.
With 30 seconds left in the first half the Knights secured a penalty right in front of the posts, but the Titans tenaciously hung on to take a 10-0 lead into the break.
Despite a mountain of possession against them, the Knights remained in the match off the back of some good goal-line defence.
The Knights started the second half with renewed energy, carving out a number of early chances that the Titans did well to close out.
With the rain easing and ball security improving as a result, halfback Jack Cogger looked certain to score in the 47th minute only for the referee to rule obstruction in the build up.
The Knights continued to press and nine minutes later Bradie Smith scored first points for the away side, finishing off an unorthodox attack that had more than a hint of soccer to it. Brock Lamb added the extras from in front, boosting the score to 10-6.
The Knights were growing in confidence and in the 63rd minute they scored again, fullback Dylan Phythian scoring a crucial one in the corner. Lamb again converted, giving the Knights a 12-10 lead with seventeen minutes to play.
The away side were looking unstoppable now and three minutes later winger Josh Birch collected a Lamb grubber to score on the left side. Lamb again did well to convert from the sideline, pushing the score to 18-10.
With four minutes left on the clock Lamb was at it again, scoring a field goal that at the time almost seemed unnecessary, but would soon prove to be the difference between the two sides.
In the 78th minute the Titans regathered a short kick and scored a few tackles later in the right corner, Christian Mika crossing over untouched.
The Titans' kick proved unsuccessful but with thirty seconds left on the clock they scored again, pushing the score to 19-18 to the Knights.
Hudson needed to convert to win it for the Titans but his attempt was waved away, giving the Knights a hard-fought away win.
Newcastle Knights 19 (T: Smith, Phythian, Birch, G: Lamb 3/3, FG Lamb)
Gold Coast Titans 18 (T: Cartwright, Coleman, Mika, Kelly, G: 1/5)
Knights: Phythian, Lam, Birch, Robson, Tofilau, Lamb, Cogger, King, Levi, D Safiti, Smith, J Safiti, Yates. Bench: Kelly, Steven, Faitotoa, Stone.
Titans: Kelly, Spring, Cartwright, Hudson, Mika, Lawton, Torpy, Tuisau, Fletcher, Iodice, Coleman, Schwass, Wilson