Four tries in the final 11 minutes of play have secured an incredible come-from-behind victory for the Newcastle Knights, who defeated the Wentworthville Magpies in a do-or-die clash at McDonald Jones Stadium.
Honeti Tuha scored another double and was on song for the Magpies, along with second-rowers John Folau and Frank Pritchard. The Knights' amazing late surge was engineered by halves Jack Cogger and Jaelen Feeney, however, with the win confirming their place in the 2017 finals series.
Extremely windy conditions made work hard for both sides, with the Knights playing into the breeze in the first half. That was compounded by the short-term absence of leading tryscorer Tom Hughes and the first half injury of winger Thomas Cronan, forcing a back-line reshuffle early in the contest.
The Magpies were boosted by the inclusion of former Kiwi international Josh Hoffman in a return from injury, while Tuha lined up at fullback after initially being named on the bench. It would only take four minutes for that move to pay dividends, with Tuha weaving his way through for the first try; that came off the back of an impressive charge down by captain Cody Nelson, who streaked away down the left-hand side to earn his side valuable field possession. Nathan Davis would convert as the Magpies hit the lead early.
Newcastle Knights 30 (B Elliot 2, J Gagan, T Amey, B Robson, J Cogger tries; N Meaney 3 goals)
Wentworthville Magpies 24 (H Tuha 2, N Davis, D Aukafolau tries; N Davis 4 goals)