The Newcastle Knights put in their best all-round performance of 2015 at AAMI Park on Monday night, beating the Melbourne Storm 20-6.
In the first stanza the Knights were sharp in attack and in the second they were brilliant in defence, restricting the Storm to one try over the 80 minutes and leveraging themselves off the bottom of the ladder in the process.
Tyrone Roberts, who was named Fox Sports' Man of the Match, had an outstanding game guiding the team around the park, while both Korbin Sims and Kade Snowden were unstoppable up front with 169 and 211 metres respectively.
Kurt Gidley was also typically industrious in his 249th appearance, becoming the equal second most capped player for the Club in the process.
The Knights, minus Beau Scott who was a late withdrawal, only took five minutes to get onto the scoreboard, Gidley capitalising on three back-to-back penalties to score his 79th try for the Club.
Roberts added the extras, but three minutes later Storm fullback Cameron Munster copied Gidley when he scored following multiple penalties. Cameron Smith converted to push the score to 6-6.
It wasn't until the 20th minute that next points were scored after the Storm defence illegally stripped the ball from Jeremy Smith just short of the line. Roberts took to the tee to give his side a two point lead.
Soon after Munster came up with an error that gave the Knights a set 20 metres out, and Roberts again came to the fore when he slipped Tariq Sims through a gap in the defensive line to score. The halfback's attempted conversion skewed off target, but three minutes later the red and blues almost scored again when Korbin Sims followed up an Adam Clydsdale grubber from dummy-half.
While that chance went begging, in the 33rd minute there was no stopping the brilliant Roberts when he intercepted a Cooper Cronk pass to run 60 metres and score. He made no mistakes with his conversion this time, pushing the half-time score to 18-6.
The Novocastrians started the second half without losing any of their energy or tenacity, Sione Mata'utia earning his side a repeat set via a line drop-out in the 46th minute. Soon after it looked as though Akuila Uate had scored a try in the right corner, until the referee called up a forward pass in the build-up.
Ten minutes later the Knights found themselves defending on their own line for multiple sets, but in a sequence of plays that would have made interim coach Danny Buderus proud, the red and blues emphatically shut the Storm out and held up Kurt Mann over the line when he looked certain to score.
It was the best defence the Novocastrians have displayed all season, and soon after they earned two line drop-outs from the Storm thanks to some clever Roberts kicking.
While the Knights didn't score from those opportunities, Roberts did score a penalty goal with eight minutes to play, pushing the final score to 20-6.
Newcastle Knights 20 (T: Gidley, T Sims, Roberts; G: Roberts 2/3; P: 2/2)
Melbourne Storm 6 (T: Munster; G: Smith 1/1)