The NSW Cup Knights ran out hard-fought 16-10 winners over the Penrith Panthers at Hunter Stadium on Saturday afternoon, getting one over the team that beat them in the Grand Final last year.
It was a tight affair in the closing minutes with both teams locked at 16-16, but the Knights came up with the goods to register their second win of the season.
Chanel Mata'utia was ruled out with an injury sustained during training in the week, Honeti Tuha moving in to take his place.
Jaelen Feeney also came in at halfback, Danny Kerr, shifting to the bench.
Second-rowers Marvin Filipo and Lachlan Fitzgibbon moved into the starting side to cap off the glut of changes.
NYC graduate Feeney crossed over in the seventh minute, barging through several defenders to get his first NSW Cup try.
Tuha was unable to convert from out wide, leaving the Knights' lead at 4-0.
Tempers were running high on the field and six minutes later a fracas emerged in which both players involved were lucky to not be sin-binned.
It was the Knights who proved to have the clearer heads in the 22nd minute when Chad Redman received the ball from Clint Newton to dive over the line.
Tuha was successful in his conversion this time, giving the Knights a 10-0 lead.
The Knights were at it again five minutes later when a returning Marvin Filipo broke through the line, stumbled and picked himself up again to scramble over the line and score.
Tuha's attempted conversion sailed wide, leaving the score at 14-0 with eleven minutes to play in the first half.
The Panthers looked certain to score with three minutes to play in the first half when fullback Brent Naden fed Brendan Attwood, but the big forward lost the ball when he was already in-goal.
The Knights grabbed another two points when a Penrith penalty gifted Kerr an easy kick, giving the home team a 16-0 half-time lead.
The Panthers dragged themselves back into the match eleven minutes into the second half when centre Nu'u Akeripa found space on the left flank to score.
Five-eighth Will Smith's attempted conversion was waved away, the 16-4 with twenty-seven minutes left on the clock.
The Panthers struck again in their next set, Rodney Coates finishing off a clinical play through the middle near the uprights.
Smith was successful in his conversion this time to push the score to 16-10.
Nathan Ross quickly put his side back on the offensive with a fifty-metre burst through the middle that his opposite number Waqa Blake did well to stifle.
Both sides continued to push for the killing blow but clear-cut chances were few and far between as errors and penalties started to creep into the game.
It was the Panthers that came up with the goods with four minutes to play when Scarlett collected an offload to score.
Smith was unerring in his conversion, pushing the score to 16-16.
The Knights were given the perfect opportunity from kick-off when the Panthers knocked-on.
Jaelen Feeney went for the field-goal with seconds left on the clock and was closed down by a desperate Panthers defence.
Kerr was next to have a shot, and in a cruel blow to the visitors the referee ruled offside to the chasers.
Chad Redman stepped up to the tee and showed nerves of steel to slot the conversion, giving the Knights an 18-16 win.