The Newcastle Knights pulled off an improbable 34 – 20 upset win against the Canberra Raiders at McDonald Jones Stadium.

The Knights came to play, even though only 10,000 turned out to watch Newcastle’s entrant into the 2017 Telstra NRL Premiership competition. They had a strong start and a stronger finish to record their first win in seven games.

The Knights were beneficiaries of exceptionally strong performances from Sione Mata’utia, Luke Yates, Brock Lamb and Daniel Saifiti. They scored four tries in the final 24 minutes of the game.

Young gun Saifiti made 187 metres, 28 tackles and two offloads, which sort of set the stage for what the Knights would have to consider a rout of major proportions.

The Knights were on the board for the first time in the first five minutes of the game when a Raiders’ error permitted Knights’ winger Nathan Ross to score a try at the corner.

The Raiders wasted no time getting into the lead, assisted by a penalty.

The Knights’ other Saifiti, Jacob, had to be stretchered off the field and sent to hospital for a suspected neck injury.

The Green Machine did not go down without a fight, regaining the lead in the 44th minute, but when the Knights took the lead for good in the 56th minute.