A late Kalyn Ponga try with three minutes to play has won the game for the nib Newcastle Knights on a memorable night at McDonald Jones Stadium.
Ponga produced a masterclass and the decisive try as the Knights snapped a three game losing streak in the Round 6 26-22 victory at home.
Battling illness, Ponga scored twice and set up two others in his first game back at home for the season and the fullback was backed up a number of huge performances across the board.
The match kicked off with the Knights getting first use of the football.
Brayden Musgrove ran out for his first game in the NRL and partnered returning centre Bradman Best on the left edge.
On the other edge, Hymel Hunt was a late casualty suffering an injury in the warm-up with Brodie Jones coming on at center and pushing Enari Tuala to the right wing. Hunt was ruled out for the game.
The Knights had the first six again call and marched up the field early but couldn't force any pressure.
After a Kurt Mann kick went dead, the Sharks found their way up the field and a Connor Tracey kick went in-behind and the ball look destined for William Kennedy to snatch and cross over.
Brodie Jones produced a try-saver to ground the ball in the in-goal before Kennedy could arrive.
In the first 15 minutes, the two sides were locked in the grind.
A superb Blake Green 40/20 swung the momentum into the Knights favour and got the crowd on their feet.
The home crowd had another reason to cheer soon after when fullback Kalyn Ponga crossed for the first try of the night.
Ponga pierces the line on the left
The superstar sprung to life and threw a dummy close to the line to run in to a hole and open the Knights account.
Not long after, a huge bomb forced a goal line drop out and the Knights were back on the attack.
Ponga was again the Sharks nemesis bursting through the line to find Mitch Barnett with a glorious short ball and the second-rower crossed the stripe to make it 8-0 after 20 minutes.
Ponga wasn't having the same effect with the boot missing his first two conversions.
Cronulla were looking to be next to score and a high ball from Cronulla saw Toby Rudolf and Ponga collide in mid air when contesting for the ball.
With the ball loose, Jesse Ramien pounced to produce the first points to the away side and score against his former side.
With the scores at 8-6, Jacob Saifiti appeared certain to score but dropped the ball at the last moment.
The Knights would have their third try soon after courtesy of a beautiful team move up the right side of the field.
Knights strike from the halfway line through Mann
An offload from Ponga saw the Knights shift the ball to the right and Tuala raced down the wing and chipped over the top of Kennedy. The ever reliable Kurt Mann was there to come down with the football and extend the Knights lead.
Ponga made no mistake with the conversion to make it 14-6.
The Knights were enjoying success up through the middle of the Sharks defence and were completing their sets at almost 90% in the first half.
Newcastle would take a healthy 14-6 lead into the break.
After half-time, the Sharks had an early opportunity but Brodie Jones was the saviour again to round up the ball and stop the away side from scoring.
The team from the Shire made the early pressure count as Briton Nikora made his way to the line.
Townsend added the extras to put the Sharks within two points.
The match was well and truly alive as the Knights looked to win back their share of possession.
When the Knights needed points, the superstar fullback delivered again.
Ponga used his speed to get on the outside of a retreating Sharks defence and swivelled in a tackle and offloaded to Brodie Jones.
Jones ran around to score under the sticks and post his first try in the NRL, a just reward after two try-savers and coming in the game in an unfamiliar position.
Stomach pain can't stop Ponga's magic
Ponga added the two to put the Knights back out to an eight point lead at the 55th minute mark.
The Sharks wouldn't lie down as they pegged the margin back when Tracey scored in the corner at the 62nd minute.
Townsend was unsuccessful with his conversion from the sideline to keep the score at 20-16.
The two teams were headed for a grandstand finish in front of 17,039 parochial fans at McDonald Jones Stadium.
An acrobatic finish from Mawene Hiroti in the corner brought Cronulla level on the 66th minute mark.
Townsend converted from the sideline to put the Sharks into the lead for the first time in the game.
A couple of Knights errors brought more pressure onto themselves.
A penalty to the Knights brought the side down the right end of the field.
A backward kick from Blake Green went to Brodie Jones. Jones found Frizell who got his arm free to find Kalyn Ponga.
Ponga charged through the line to score the all-important try and cue scenes of jubilation amongst the Newcastle ranks and supporters.
Cronulla got the ball back from the kick off but were forced into an error.
The Knights would see through to the end to earn a huge two points.