The sight of Newcastle talisman Kurt Gidley being stretchered off could not break the spirit of Newcastle as they ran out 26-18 NRL winners over Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.
However, the same could not be said for Brisbane after they finally had the finals door slammed shut in their face in their second-straight loss.
Brisbane arrived at their home ground on Friday night just one point outside the top eight but at 13th spot on a congested NRL ladder, knowing they could not let their guard slip again following last round's 28-12 loss at Penrith.
They appeared on track to keep their faint finals hopes alive when they led 14-6 at halftime in front of a 27,601-strong crowd.
And Broncos fans would still have been rejoicing when main threat Gidley was taken off in the 48th minute with a suspected left ankle injury, even after crossing to cut the second half deficit to 14-12.
But from there it was one way traffic as Newcastle piled on three of the next four tries - including a double to fullback Darius Boyd - to finally extinguish any hope Brisbane could make the top eight.
It ensured six-time premiers Brisbane will miss the finals for the second time in four seasons.
Needing to win their final two games to stay in the top eight hunt, the Broncos came out swinging against the No.7-ranked Knights and quickly turned pressure into points.
Broncos lock Corey Parker opened up the scoring in the 10th minute before hooker Andrew McCullough made Newcastle pay for a turnover by ex-Bronco Dane Gagai by crossing just four minutes later.
And a 23rd minute penalty kick by Scott Prince made it 14-0 to the hosts.
Newcastle would have been forgiven for thinking it was not their night when flying winger Akuila Uate pounced on a Jack Reed error and raced 80m, only to knock-on as he tried to ground the ball in the 24th minute.
But they finally got on the board when the Knights chanced their arm, spun it left and two-try centre Joey Leilua finally opened his account on the stroke of halftime.
Knights coach Wayne Bennett also had cause for concern after David Fa'alogo was placed on report for a shoulder charge on McCullough in the 56th minute.