Illawarra have kept their finals hopes alive after securing a nail-biting 34-32 victory over the Newcastle at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday.
Coming off a lacklustre performance against Penrith, their were worrying signs early for the visitors, with the Knights crossing for their first four-pointer within the first sixty seconds, courtesy of Nick Meany.
Illawarra hit back with youngsters Jack Payne, Luciano Leilua and Pat Herbert combining down the right edge to score their first points.
A determined Payne found himself in the action moments later, never giving up on a wayward kick off the boot from Jai Field, brushing through Knights defenders to plant the ball in the in-goal.
Illawarra scored their third try when a great offload from Will Matthews found Adam Clune to link with brother Sam to put Field over from close range..
Up and coming star Matheson Johns crossed for try on the halftime buzzer, with the perfect boot from Field continuing, to give his side a healthy 24-6 lead.
The Knights crossed for an important four pointer shortly after the resumption to Pasami Saulo to narrow the gap back to two converted tries.
A penalty goal to Field extended the lead to 14, before dumped NRL half Jaelen Feeney crossed to get his side back into the contest.
It was the first of four consecutive tries through, Thomas Cronan, Jacob Gagan and Feeny who crossed for his double to grab a six point lead heading into the final 10 minutes.
Field to leveled the scores at 32-all after Jordan Pereira snatched a a kick from Clune out of the air with less than five minutes on the clock.
Illawarra marched their way up the field in the final set of the game to find themselves forty out from the sticks on tackle five.
Herbert put his hand up to take the one-pointer, but was swamped by Knights defenders, who in turn were deemed to be offside, gifting Illawarra a penalty, with the visitors electing to take the kick at goal.
A cool, calm and collected Field slotted the goal gifting his side a 34-32 victory, keeping their title defence alive.