The Newcastle Knights went down 26-6 to the Gold Coast Titans at Hunter Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
While it was another tough day at the office for the team - with several late changes including the omission of Jarrod Mullen and Sione Mata'tuia - Nathan Ross had a great return from injury with a try and a game high 267 running metres.
Both the Saifiti twins had a big impact when they came off the bench as well, registering more than 40 tackles apiece.
The Knights looked like they could score first points in the sixth minute when Jake Mamo and then Dane Gagai spread the ball out wide for Brendan Elliot. He ran out of space just before the try line though, and was carried out of play.
Five minutes later the Titans drew first blood on the back of a repeat set, prop Ryan James shrugging his way out of a tackle to score beneath the posts. Tyrone Roberts converted, and ten minutes later the Titans were over again when Chris McQueen pushed his way past Mitch Barnett and got the ball down.
James got his second try soon after, collecting the ball five metres short of the line to steamroll his way over. Roberts made it three conversions from three attempts, but soon after the Knights got back into the game via winger Ross. He intercepted a David Mead pass in the 29th minute to run 90 metres and score.
It was an even start to the second half as the two sides traded blows, until eight minutes in Jarryd Hayne put through a kick for Konrad Hurrell. The wrecking ball of a centre looked like he would get a try, until Ross came out of nowhere to get a hand to the ball first.
Two minutes later the Titans got their try though, Luke Douglas taking a quick tap from a penalty just inches outside of the ten to score.
There was some excitement from the Knights with 20 minutes left on the clock, Dane Gagai making 20 metres from a scrum and then Sam Mataora breaking out of a tackle and offloading for Will Pearsall to run clear. He was brought down 20 metres short of the line though, and the Knights were denied.
Several sets later the Knights looked as though they could get those points when Gagai found himself in open space on the right touchline, but with 20 metres to run he was taken out of play by Nene MacDonald.
It was a similar story with 12 minutes on the clock, Elliot trying to get the ball over the line in the corner but getting thrown off by some strong Titans defence.
Seven minutes later the Titans finished off the scoring, Roberts slotting a penalty goal to make the final score 26-6.
Newcastle Knights 6 (T: Ross, G: Hodkinson 1/1)
Gold Coast Titans 26 (T: James 2, McQueen, Douglas, G: Roberts 4/4, P: 1)