Newcastle, the party poopers.

Well, almost.

On a day billed as a celebration of Chris Heighington's 300-game milestone and the 50-year birthday of Cronulla, the Sharks were saved from an embarrassing loss to the Knights by the boot of five-eighth James Maloney.

The tight victory frustrated vice-captain Wade Graham who demanded his side rapidly find consistency ahead of a grand final rematch with the Melbourne Storm next Sunday.


"We have patches here and there, where we feel like where we're on song and then like today, other patches where we're just all over the shop," Graham said.

"That's the big thing for us, to get to training and work out why we're dropping in and out of games.

"We know we've got a really good footy team here, but we just can't keep giving other team's a leg-up.

"You come up against a team like Melbourne, who complete at 90 per cent, if we toss out 12 errors it's going to be a long afternoon for us.

"It comes down to personal accountability really and we have to work on that because there's a lot of improvement in us."

Despite the nailbiting finish, the Sharks dominated every statistic except the most important of all - the scoreboard.

The home side boasted a favourable 7-3 penalty count, three forced drop outs to nil, they made 400 more metres, produced 11 offloads to the Knights six and came up with seven line breaks to Newcastle's one.

Cronulla were seemingly in control leading 14-6 at halftime and they Sharks kicked further in front when Valentine Holmes made a pitch for try of the year in the 55th minute, by starting and finishing a 90-metre four-pointer.

But leading 18-6 with 25-minutes remaining, the Sharks faithful were left speechless as the ever-improving Knights rallied to level at 18-18-all through a runaway try to Brendan Elliott and Jacob Gagan, the recipient of a Holmes fumble in his own in-goal, in the 71st minute.

However, with just two minutes remaining, a typically powerful surge from Andrew Fifita gave the Sharks the vital field position for Maloney to slot the matchwinning field-goal.

Boasting an aggregate scoreline of 150-38 in the last four matches against the Knights, the Sharks were widely-tipped to rack up another dominant showing against the Knights.
But through costly errors and complacency in defence, the Knights clawed their way back into the contest.

Sharks coach Shane Flanagan highlighted his side's failure to execute a string of try scoring opportunities.

"It was a lot tighter than what I would've liked," Flanagan said.

"We should've put it to bed a couple of times and we were own worst enemy.

"We dropped the ball over the line a couple of times, there were a couple of line breaks where we just couldn't find the right pass at the end.

"It was a bit clunky, it wasn't our best performance, but I'm just happy to get away with the two competition points."

While it was the Sharks first home victory this season, Knights coach Nathan Brown felt conflicted post-match; pleased that his side responded to their thrashing by Penrith last weekend, but gutted not to have spoiled the Sharks party.

It was also the first time in 22 matches that the Knights hadn't had 20-points or more scored against them.

"We've certainly showed that in four out of our five games this year, we're really digging in but we did lose a close game again, so obviously that's not so good," Brown said.

"We've defiantly improved a lot on last year and we've got to understand that we've got to come up with a good defensive every week."