As Aussies, we all love seeing the underdog get the chocolates.
There’s no getting away from the fact the nib Newcastle Knights have had some lean seasons in the past, however they have resulted in some of our most famous victories over the years.
In this special piece, we look back over the biggest upsets our Knights have managed to pull off since our inception in 1988.
Rd24 2015 – Knights 20-6 Storm
Coming late in the ill-fated 2015 season, and with the Knights looking to avoid a first wooden spoon in more than 10 years, this win was one to savour.
The Storm were presented with what seemed a golden opportunity to enter the top four, hosting the 15thplaced Knights at AAMI Park in Melbourne.
The Knights, led by interim coach Danny Buderus, had other ideas.
A try in the sixth minute to outgoing legend Kurt Gidley put the Knights in the box seat, which is where they stayed as Melbourne slumped thanks to 13 errors and a 72% completion rate.
Tries to Tariq Sims and Tyrone Roberts sealed the victory before half-time and lifted the Knights temporarily out of the competition’s cellar.
Rd20 2005 – Knights 16-10 Eels
2005 was a disastrous year for the Knights, who didn’t taste victory until Rd16 and were described by Phil Gould as a “guaranteed two points for any team they played against.”
Taking on the eventual Minor Premiers in Parramatta away from home and sitting dead last on the ladder with just two wins to their name, not many pundits were backing Newcastle to get the job done, especially after they fell 10-0 down early.
An Andrew Johns masterclass saw the Knights draw level by half time, before Johns laid on a try for George Carmont in the second half which proved to be the difference.
It kick-started a remarkable run which resulted in the Knights winning seven of their last nine games to almost drag themselves off the bottom of the table.
Rd25 2007 – Knights 26-24 Tigers
It was essentially do or die for the Tigers, who had a golden opportunity to move into the top eight in the final round of the season, while the Knights were looking to avoid a second wooden spoon in three seasons.
The Knights struggled throughout 2007, with Brian Smith at the helm following the shock retirement of Andrew Johns, however this match provided a rare highlight for the team.
The Tigers looked set to coast into the finals thanks to a Benji Marshall double which had them leading 24-12 with seven minutes to go, before Newcastle roared into life.
Tries to Kurt Gidley and Cooper Vuna saw the Knights draw level, with a Gidley penalty goal after the siren giving Newcastle their first win in over two months.
The valuable win had earth shattering ramifications across the competition, guaranteeing finals football to South Sydney and Brisbane, while the Tigers were put out of business and the Panthers collected the wooden spoon.
Rd10 2017 – Knights 34-20 Raiders
In the midst of easily the toughest period in the Club’s history, the Knights were again sitting last after nine rounds win just one win to their name.
Meanwhile, Canberra were coming off a heartbreaking preliminary final loss in 2016 and were highly fancied to kick-start their season against the Knights.
However, a stirring performance led by Sione Mata’utia saw the Knights run away with the game in the second half, stunning the Raiders and sending 11,000 fans at McDonald Jones Stadium into raptures.
Herald Challenge Cup 1988 – Knights 24-12 Sea Eagles
A true throwback, the Knights were yet to play a single game in the NSWRL, and their only trial was a 32-0 loss to Cronulla.
It was the Knights first game for a competitive trophy, The Herald Challenge Cup, which took place just a few weeks prior to the 1988 Winfield Cup season. The opposition: 1987 Premiers Manly.
The Sea Eagles side included massive names such as Paul Vautin, Geoff Toovey, Dale Shearer, Des Hasler, Noel Cleal, Cliff Lyons and Michael O’Connor. Newcastle, meanwhile, featured only seven players with first grade experience.
In front of over 21,460 people at the Newcastle International Sports Centre, Allan McMahon’s battlers ground out a brutal 24-12 win, with Captain Sam Stewart leading from the front.