The Jersey Flegg Newcastle Knights have fallen short 24-18 in their 2019 season opener to Penrith on Saturday.
After the entire grade was given a bye in Round 1, the Knights hosted the Panthers at Dudley Oval and immediately felt the pinch of a fired-up Panthers outfit.
It only took Matthew Faauila two minutes to register first points with the visitors racing out to an 18-point lead after 20 minutes.
Refusing to give in, the Scott Dureau coached Knights hit back through crafty No.9 Luke Huth.
Huth has enjoyed a stellar pre-season which saw him join the NRL squad for training.
A conversion from Toby Marks reduced the margin to 12 points as the Knights continued their charge when Ofa Manuofetoa bulldozed over.
With just six points in it, the Panthers extended their lead when Alexander Myles found his way over the line in the 58th minute.
A try to Joe Bromage nine minutes later was a consolation with the Knights falling short.