Knights go down to Sharks by two pointsPhotos

Knights go down to Sharks by two points | Photos Newcastle v Cronulla, June 21, 2015, Hunter Stadium: Knights start off strong against the Sharks but go down 30-28 to continue their losing streak. Picture: Ryan Osland
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Newcastle v Cronulla, June 21, 2015, Hunter Stadium: Knights start off strong against the Sharks but go down 30-28 to continue their losing streak. Picture: Ryan Osland

Newcastle v Cronulla, June 21, 2015, Hunter Stadium: Knights start off strong against the Sharks but go down 30-28 to continue their losing streak. Picture: Ryan Osland

Newcastle v Cronulla, June 21, 2015, Hunter Stadium: Knights start off strong against the Sharks but go down 30-28 to continue their losing streak. Picture: Ryan Osland

Newcastle v Cronulla, June 21, 2015, Hunter Stadium: Knights start off strong against the Sharks but go down 30-28 to continue their losing streak. Picture: Ryan Osland

Newcastle v Cronulla, June 21, 2015, Hunter Stadium: Knights start off strong against the Sharks but go down 30-28 to continue their losing streak. Picture: Ryan Osland

Newcastle v Cronulla, June 21, 2015, Hunter Stadium: Knights start off strong against the Sharks but go down 30-28 to continue their losing streak. Picture: Ryan Osland

Newcastle v Cronulla, June 21, 2015, Hunter Stadium: Knights start off strong against the Sharks but go down 30-28 to continue their losing streak. Picture: Ryan Osland

Newcastle v Cronulla, June 21, 2015, Hunter Stadium: Knights start off strong against the Sharks but go down 30-28 to continue their losing streak. Picture: Ryan Osland

Newcastle v Cronulla, June 21, 2015, Hunter Stadium: Knights start off strong against the Sharks but go down 30-28 to continue their losing streak. Picture: Ryan Osland

Newcastle v Cronulla, June 21, 2015, Hunter Stadium: Knights start off strong against the Sharks but go down 30-28 to continue their losing streak. Picture: Ryan Osland

Newcastle v Cronulla, June 21, 2015, Hunter Stadium: Knights start off strong against the Sharks but go down 30-28 to continue their losing streak. Picture: Ryan Osland

Newcastle v Cronulla, June 21, 2015, Hunter Stadium: Knights start off strong against the Sharks but go down 30-28 to continue their losing streak. Picture: Ryan Osland

Newcastle v Cronulla, June 21, 2015, Hunter Stadium: Knights start off strong against the Sharks but go down 30-28 to continue their losing streak. Picture: Ryan Osland

Newcastle v Cronulla, June 21, 2015, Hunter Stadium: Knights start off strong against the Sharks but go down 30-28 to continue their losing streak. Picture: Ryan Osland

Newcastle v Cronulla, June 21, 2015, Hunter Stadium: Knights start off strong against the Sharks but go down 30-28 to continue their losing streak. Picture: Ryan Osland

Newcastle v Cronulla, June 21, 2015, Hunter Stadium: Knights start off strong against the Sharks but go down 30-28 to continue their losing streak. Picture: Ryan Osland

Newcastle v Cronulla, June 21, 2015, Hunter Stadium: The selfies ahead of the game, this one from Instagrammer @roxyamp.

Newcastle v Cronulla, June 21, 2015, Hunter Stadium: The selfies ahead of the game, this one from Instagrammer @thekdogawakens.

Newcastle v Cronulla, June 21, 2015, Hunter Stadium: The selfies ahead of the game, this one from Instagrammer @mellyharro.

Newcastle v Cronulla, June 21, 2015, Hunter Stadium: The action from the grandstand. Picture via Instagram @hendoish.

Newcastle v Cronulla, June 21, 2015, Hunter Stadium: Fans out in full force. Picture: via Instagram @missholliemaree.

Newcastle v Cronulla, June 21, 2015, Hunter Stadium: Knights start off strong against the Sharks but go down 30-28 to continue their losing streak. Picture: Ryan Osland

Newcastle v Cronulla, June 21, 2015, Hunter Stadium: Knights start off strong against the Sharks but go down 30-28 to continue their losing streak. Picture: Ryan Osland

Newcastle v Cronulla, June 21, 2015, Hunter Stadium: Knights start off strong against the Sharks but go down 30-28 to continue their losing streak. Picture: Ryan Osland

Newcastle v Cronulla, June 21, 2015, Hunter Stadium: Knights start off strong against the Sharks but go down 30-28 to continue their losing streak. Picture: Ryan Osland

Newcastle v Cronulla, June 21, 2015, Hunter Stadium: Knights start off strong against the Sharks but go down 30-28 to continue their losing streak. Picture: Ryan Osland

TweetFacebookNEWCASTLE is in danger of collecting a second footballing wooden spoon in the same year after the Knights slumped to their fourth successive defeat -and ninth loss in 10 games -at Hunter Stadium on Sunday.

The 30-28 defeat by Cronulla, after Newcastle twice led by 10 points, left the Knights in 15th position,equal last with Parramatta and Manly.

The Sea Eagles occupy the bottom rung of the ladder because of an inferior points differential.

Manly have won only four games to Newcastle’s five, and are level on points courtesy of an extra bye, but would appear capable of finishing the season more strongly than the Knights.

Newcastle already has one wooden spoon in its possession for 2015, after the Jets finished last in the recently finished A-League campaign.

The unthinkable prospect of the Knights emulating their round-ball counterparts now seems a realistic outcome.

Unbeaten competition leaders after four rounds, the Knights need a miracle to reach the finals.

With 10 games to play, including some tough away trips, they would need at least seven wins.

Sunday’s win lifted Cronulla, who were without skipper Paul Gallen, from 10th to ninth on the ladder.

Newcastle led 16-6 late in the first half but suffered a setback when they conceded a try seconds before the interval.

Bursting onto an inside ball from Luke Lewis, Sharks five-eighth Jack Bird scored, leaving a simple conversion for fullback Michael Gordon to reduce the deficit to 16-12.

The lead fluctuated during the first 40 minutes.

Newcastle skipper Kurt Gidley kicked two penalty goal in the opening seven minutes, before the Sharks equalised when winger Valentine Holmes got outside his opposite number, James McManus, to cross in the corner.

Cronulla nudged 6-4 ahead in the 21st minute when Knights prop Kade Snowden was penalised and placed on report for a high tackle on Sharks forward Matt Prior.

Seven minutes later, Newcastle regained the ascendancy when centre Dane Gagai burst clear and grubber kicked ahead for fullback Jake Mamo, who regathered to score.

They increased their advantage to 16-6 in the 34th minute when Gidley put Robbie Rochow into a yawning gap and Origin enforcer Beau Scott backed up to score.

A freakish piece of play by Mamo gave the Knights a boost five minutes into the second half.

Chasing his own kick, Mamo launched himself when the ball was in mid-air over the dead-ball line and flicked it back in-goal.

Five-eighth Carlos Tuimavave was on the spot to score between the posts. Gidley converted to make it 22-12.

Far from wilting, the visitors surged into the lead with three tries in seven minutes – by Lewis, Ben Barba and Bird – all converted by Gordon.

Adding to Newcastle’s concerns, back-rower Tariq Sims was placed on report for collecting Lewis with a swinging arm as he scored his try.

A 78th-minute try by Snowden, converted by Gidley, left the game in the balance at 30-28 and gave the Knights about 90 seconds to salvage a miraculous victory.

But the Sharks withstood one last barrage to secure the two points, their second win against Newcastle this year.

CRONULLA 30 (J Bird 2 B Barba V Holmes L Lewis tries M Gordon 5 goals) bt NEWCASTLE 28 (J Mamo B Scott K Snowden C Tuimavave tries K Gidley 6 goals) at Hunter Stadium. Referee: Gavin Badger, Alan Shortall. Crowd: 14,081.