Mitchell Pearce and Kalyn Ponga entered as heavyweights but it was Mitch Moses and Clint Gutherson landing the knockout blow that leaves Newcastle's finals hopes on the ropes.
Moses and Gutherson outpointed their Origin-credentialled opposite numbers, the star attractions in a 20-14 win that takes the Eels to equal fifth and back into the post-season after last year's wooden spoon.
The Knights though will finish the weekend two wins adrift of eighth place amid a six-game losing run, their finals fortunes sinking further despite Mitch Barnett sparking a fightback with two unlikely plays under the high ball, that led to tries.
Both Pearce and Ponga played their part with big-money kicks to produce points, turning an 8-2 halftime deficit into a shock six-point lead.
But aside from Newcastle's brief revival it was Gutherson and Moses well and truly earning their keep, leading the Eels to just their third win over the Knights in 14 encounters.
Match: Eels v Knights
Round 21 -
Venue: Bankwest Stadium, Sydney
Twice Moses' kicks led to tries for his skipper.
By play's end the often-maligned Eels No.7 had his 22nd try-assist of the season (taking him five clear of next-best Luke Keary), along with a couple of forced drop-outs and effective clearing kicks to boot.
Gutherson's first try came courtesy of Brad Takairangi, the makeshift winger proving anything but under a Moses bomb with a deft pass to send Gutherson over early.
Only a brilliant cover hit from Ponga denied the blue and gold No.1 his second on the same patch of grass.
It came soon enough though, Moses chipping over the top after spying Ponga in the front-line and finding open space for Gutherson to dot down in the 30th minute.
A bomb from Pearce that made for a seven-tackle set to Parramatta summed up his first half, Ponga's kick-off straight into touch an ominous start to the second stanza.
That all changed when Pearce took to the air once more. Barnett led the revival in the 42nd minute, flying above the Eels outside men to nab a cross field kick for Newcastle's first try.
Four minutes later they had their second again thanks to the bustling back-rower.
With Hymel Hunt this time taking a punt from Ponga, Barnett produced a split-second pass from around his knees, giving Shaun Kenny-Dowall a saloon passage to the line and the Knights the unlikeliest of leads.
Down 14-8 but with 20,671 in full voice at Bankwest Stadium, the Eels set up a thrilling final 20 when Reed Mahoney snuck over from a Junior Paulo offload.
Moses and Gutherson took centre stage yet again, the former breaking through and finding the latter with points beckoning.
Another try-saver from Ponga delayed the inevitable. Rookie half Dylan Brown made sure of it, grubbering for Maika Sivo to score in front of his father Joeli, taking in his first game of NRL having flown in from Fiji.
With a four-point lead Parramatta chose to shut up shop rather than cash in.
Late errors cost Newcastle dearly, with a late flare-up between David Klemmer and Manu Ma'u in the final minute gifting Moses an 80th minute penalty goal in front.
He duly put the boot in once more, sending Parramatta on their way to the finals and Newcastle in the all-too familiar opposite direction.