Knights v Eels: Five key points
The Knights were left heartbroken when a try two minutes from full-time was disallowed as the Eels marked their first win in a month following their 20-18 victory at Hunter Stadium on Monday night.
Debutant French the hero
Bevan French set the Auckland Nines alight at the beginning of the year. Against the Knights, he was finally able to see how it translated in the NRL.
While he scored a record eight tries in Auckland, on Monday night the 20-year-old was able to showcase the grit he possesses.
Not long after scoring his maiden NRL try, French prevented a late Knights win in the 78th minute with an amazing try-saving tackle on Nathan Ross.
"He saved us the game in the end, didn't he?" Eels coach Brad Arthur said post-game.
"We have always known that some blokes are just footballers and Bevan is one of them. He still has a lot to learn and it will take some time but he did well for us."
Heartbreaker at the death for Knights
The Newcastle faithful were left to wonder what could've been when Ross failed to plant the ball down in the final two minutes of play. If Ross scored the Knights end a five-game losing streak but it was unfortunately not to be.
Knights coach Nathan Brown said the devastating nature of the loss will have an effect on his team and it would hopefully manifest positively against reigning premiers North Queensland next weekend.
"The key is that they see the good stuff that they did and what the reward was for us. That's the key, the reward they got out of getting their ruck defence and line speed sorted," Brown said.
"There's plenty of things to build on but it would be good to have a little bit of luck and have some stability heading into the back-end of the season."
Foran's troublesome season continues
It's fair to say Eels skipper Kieran Foran's time at his new club so far hasn't been smooth sailing both on and off the field.
It was no better for him against Newcastle, failing to return after re-injuring his shoulder – something he carried into the game – five minutes before half-time.
Arthur said post-game there was no structural damage to the shoulder but would have to wait and see what the extent of the injury was.
Fijians come face to face
Fijian legends Akuila Uate and Semi Radradra provided one of the best match-ups of the weekend, with the two wingers clashing on more than one occasion.
Radradra let Uate know what he was all about just 15 minutes in when he slammed the Knights veteran on his back in a brutal tackle.
Uate wouldn't go without either when a huge mid-air collision sent Radradra flying sideways when contesting an Eels cross-field bomb in the final 10 minutes.
While Radradra finished the win with a try, his Newcastle counterpart showed he still had it in him by catching the Eel out with a couple of long-winding runs of his own.
Back-rowers get one over former clubs
Another factor which caught the eye was Beau Scott's match-up against Pauli Pauli.
12 months ago they would've been wearing opposite jerseys but such is the NRL they lined up on the opposite end of the paddock.
Adding to the intrigue was the fact both men scored tries in the contest.
Pauli particular impressed in his newfound position as an edge back-rower with over 130 metres and 40 tackles.
Scott bounced back from his Origin dumping the only way he knows how with an unrelenting, hard-edged showing.