THE Newcastle Knights were left ruing a controversial try by Maika Sivo in their 10-4 loss to Parramatta at McDonald Jones Stadum on Sunday.
With Parramatta leading 6-4 midway through the second half, Knights skipper Mitchell Pearce was penalised for a high tackle on Parramatta captain Clint Gutherson.
As Pearce remonstrated with referee Gerard Sutton, Gutherson took a quick tap and caught the Knights unawares before sending Sivo over untouched.
The competition leaders clung to their lead for the final 16 minutes, surviving a scare when it appeared Knights substitute Tex Hoy had scored, only for the video referee to rule he was off-side.
The result lifted Parramatta back to the top of the table and left the Knights fifth.
Scores were locked 4-all at half-time, although Newcastle could have been in the lead had their finishing been more clinical.
Centre Tautau Moga, recalled to the top grade for the first time in 10 months, came within inches of scoring in the ninth minute, only to lose the ball over the line in a three-man tackle.
Three minutes later, winger Enari Tuala raced over but was called back after a knock-on by centre Bradman Best.
Parramatta made the home team pay in the 17th minute when heavyweight prop Junior Paulo offloaded to hooker Reed Mahoney, who linked with Ryan Matterson for the opening try.
Gutherson missed what appeared a relatively simple conversion.
The Knights hit back in the 29th minute when hooker Andrew McCullough barged over from dummy-half and wrestled off defenders to ground the ball in-goal.
The conversion attempt from Knights fullback Kalyn Ponga crashed into the upright.
Ponga then left the field for a head-injury assessment after a heavy tackle that resulted in Parramatta centre Waqa Blake being placed on report.
There was further frustration for Moga in the 47th minute when he latched onto a Pearce bomb, only for the ball to be knocked from his grasp.
The Eels regained the lead in the 59th minute when the Knights were penalised for a play-the-ball infringement and Gutherson added two points.
The Knights dodged a bullet four minutes later when back-rower Shaun Lane appeared to have scored from a Mahoney grubber kick, only for the video-review bunker to rule he had knocked on.
Then came Sivo's contentious try.
Gutherson missed the shot at goal to leave the Eels 10-4 in front.
The match appeared to be heading to golden point when Hoy won the race to ground a Ponga grubber kick, but replays showed Hoy was maginally off-side and the Eels were awarded a penalty.