A TRY by former Knights junior Hudson Young condemned Newcastle to a heart-breaking 20-18 loss to the Canberra Raiders at GIO Stadium on Sunday.
With Canberra trailing 18-14 and both teams out on their feet, second-rower Young gubber-kicked ahead in the 79th minute and won the race to the ball to score next to the posts.
Canberra halfback Jamal Fogarty converted to clinch a remarkable victory for the home team, their fifth in the past six games.
A Greta-Branxton Colts junior, Young helped the Knights win the SG Ball premiership in 2014 before moving to Canberra, with whom he made his NRL debut in 2019.
The Knights, who have now lost 10 of their past 12 games, remain six points behind the top eight.
There are 10 teams who have won at least three more games than Newcastle, who have 10 games left in their season.
The Raiders dominated the first 40 minutes but Newcastle snatched a possible lifeline just before half-time.
Knights skipper Kalyn Ponga ducked out of dummy-half, confused the defence, and threw a short ball that allowed Kurt Mann to dive over.
Ponga converted, reducing Newcastle's deficit to 14-6.
Up until that point, it had been largely one-way traffic, prompting Foxtel commentator Michael Ennis to declare: "The Knights are self-imploding. They can't complete a set. Their attack is terrible."
Canberra drew first blood in the 10th minute when they shifted the ball to their left edge, where winger Nick Cotric spun out of a Dominic Young tackle to score.
Seven minutes later, the Raiders crossed on the opposite flank when Matt Timoko powered through an attempted tackle by Enari Tuala to crash over.
Fullback Xavier Savage then scored in the 23rd minute after flying high to catch a bomb and plunge over.
Newcastle's cause was not helped when representative forward Tyson Frizell suffered a head knock late in the first half and was forced out of the match.
Buoyed by their late try in the first half, Newcastle rallied after the break and looked set to post a crucial victory.
The game turned dramatically in the 55th minute when Raiders captain Elliott Whitehead was sin-binned for a late hit on Ponga.
In the ensuing set of tackles, Ponga grubber kicked into the in-goal and bench forward Mat Croker won the race to force the ball and score.
Ponga's conversion left the Raiders clinging to a 14-12 lead.
Newcastle then grabbed the lead with an Edrick Lee try in the 65th minute. He appeared to have scored again minutes later, only to be denied by the video-review bunker.
The game hung in the balance until Young's moment of magic less than two minutes before full-time.
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