The nib Newcastle Knights just fell short when they were defeated 19-18 by the Cronulla Sharks at Southern Cross Group Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Knights made a number of changes before kick off, while the Sharks lined up 1-17.
A near length of the field try by Brendan Elliot, backed up by a Jacob Gagan try on debut just couldn’t reward the Knights their first away win of the season. It was James Maloney’s pinpoint kick who spoiled it with a field goal two minutes before fulltime.
Cronulla got off to an early start, winger Gerard Beale picking up a grubber to ground the ball on the run, to lead the Knights 6-0 after seven minutes.
A grubber by Brock Lamb was placed perfectly for Englishman Joe Wardle to dive over to score his first NRL try five minutes later. Skipper Trent Hodkinson levelled the score, making it 6-6.
In the back end of the first half, a penalty saw Cronulla kick for goal to take a two-point lead after 28 minutes.
Soon after the Sharks’ Sosaia Feki was gifted a ball out wide for the home side's second try of the match. Cronulla led the Knights 14-6 at half time.
After the break, it was a back and forth affair before a length of the field dash in the 53rd minute saw Jack Bird offload to Valentine Holmes to cross the line. Cronulla stretched the scoreline to 18-6.
In the 67th minute the Knights hit back when fullback Brendan Elliot put on the accelerator to run 90m to get the Knights within six points.
In a thrilling next few minutes, a fumble by Sharks’ Holmes allowed Jacob Gagan to pick up the crumbs and score his first try for the Club. Hodkinson converted from the sideline to level the score 18-all with ten minutes to play.
But the Sharks took home the points, when Maloney nailed a field goal from in front in the 78th minute, to win the match 19-18.
Newcastle Knights: 18 (T: Wardle, Elliot, Gagan, G: Hodkinson 3/3)
Cronulla Sharks: 19 (T: Beale, Feki, Holmes G: Maloney 2/3, P: 1, FG: 1)