The nib Newcastle Knights have gone down in a hard-fought 24-10 loss to the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Stadium Australia.
An Alex Johnston hat-trick highlighted the victory for the home team.
A gritty performance in the face of late withdrawals and a growing injury list wasn't enough for the Knights as they succumb to their second loss on the bounce.
An early error from Tex Hoy had the Knights defending their own in-goal line and the Rabbitohs capitalised.
Alex Johnston crossed over untouched in the corner to score the first points for the Bunnies and his 13th try of the season.
The Knights found field position when Latrell Mitchell dropped the ball off a high-kick and Jake Clifford forced a repeat set with a pinpoint grubber.
The away team couldn't crack the Souths defence while a poor error count was affecting both teams in the early stages.
Souths continued to make errors coming out of their own end and the Knights would make sure the home side paid on this occasion.
Dom Young stormed over in the corner to post the Knights first points of the night and notch his maiden try in the NRL.
Young dives over for first NRL try
A dubious penalty blown against Lachlan Fitzgibbon marched South Sydney up the field and the Bunnies left-side attack switched into gear.
Johnston made his way over for his second of the night with Adam Reynolds converting to put the home side into an eight point lead.
The Knights continued to force the issue and responded with their second try just before the break.
A well-weighted Clifford kick was knocked back into the in-goal by Souths Sydney and Kurt Mann was on hand to ground the ball.
Mann pounces after Rabbitohs fail to deal with Clifford kick
Clifford added the extras meaning the Bunnies would only take a two-point lead into the sheds.
Early into the second half, Bradman Best was forced off with an injury.
The Bunnies again were clinical attacking the red and blue's try line with Alex Johnston making it a hat-trick with an extraordinary finish in the corner eight minutes into the second half.
Reynolds converted from the sideline to put the home side back out to an eight point lead.
An arm wrestle soon began between the two teams until Souths fortuitously scored another try.
Jaydn Su'a showcased his soccer skills to extend the Bunnies lead.
A defused Reynolds kicked made its way past the Knights line and Su'a toed the ball past Hoy and planted the ball next to the posts.
The Rabbitohs would hold onto their lead and hand the Knights their ninth loss of the campaign.