Wins would help them cement a top four spot but it is not happening for the Penrith Panthers who went down to the Newcastle Knights.
A result that many deem as an upset, it was a rather tame and uninspiring performance from the Panthers who went down 20-12.
A confidence-boosting win for the Knights, the match will be remembered not for the play but a late brawl that saw four players sin-binned.
Trailing yet again in this contest, there would be no miracle comeback on this occasion.
Neither side was able to find their mojo early as penalties and errors were rife.
Though it was the Knights who eventually took the upper-hand when Aidan Guerra and Cory Denniss both scored.
Nick Meaney then became a villain when his error resulted in a Tyrone May try for Penrith.
However, he soon redeemed himself, setting up a try for Knights centre Sione Mata’utia.
With an eight buffer at the break, the Knights were poised to go on with it and scored the first try of the second half.
Kalyn Ponga and Mitch Pearce both combined to send winger Ken Sio over the in the corner.
In the end, the Panthers completion rate and missed tackle count proved to be their downfall throughout the match.
Try as they might, they were unable to crack the Knights line for much of the second half until a late consolation try to Wayde Egan.
The incident that had everyone talking, however, was a late brawl.
Two Knights players (Danny Levi and Shaun Kenny-Dowall) and two Penrith players (Viliame Kikau and Tyrone May) were all sin-binned.
With clear punches thrown throughout the brawl by some of the players who were sin-binned, Penrith coach Cam Ciraldo awaits the consequences.
“I’m not sure what the consequences will be,” Ciraldo said.
But it would be disappointing if we did lose anyone to suspension.”
With two tough games against the Warriors and Storm left to come, Ciraldo knows his side has to be better.
“We need to turn things around pretty quickly,” the Penrith coach continued.
“We spoke about that in there (in the sheds).
“We’ve got two weeks to turn it around and get our game back on track.”
“They’re two tough away trips but that might be the making of our season if we can go away, be around each other a bit more, rip in, and get two good performances.”
With much conjecture over whether Ponga’s best position is fullback or five-eighth, Nathan Brown left it up to the man himself.
“If he wants to stay at five-eighth, I don’t think Pearcey would be unhappy or the team,” Brown said.
“If he wants to play fullback, he can.
“They are both good little footy players he and Connor so they’re interchangeable in the long run anyway.”
Player of the Game:
3. Aidan Guerra
2. Nathan Cleary
- Ken Sio