The Knights outclassed the Dragons 32-12 on Saturday night to secure fifth spot and home advantage in week one of the 2023 finals.
Missing several of their superstars, including strike fullback Kalyn Ponga (shoulder), the Knights unveiled a new-look spine and despite a chaotic end to the match, extended their winning streak to nine.
In worrying signs for the home side, the Knights opened the scoring in just the second minute courtesy of a slick right side shift featuring Adam Clune and Adam Elliott which was finished off by prop Jacob Saifiti.
Newcastle five-eighth Tyson Gamble then stamped his class on the match with a line break and a perfectly timed pass to centre Enari Tuala, extending the lead 12-0.
The Dragons hit back in the 18th minute when skipper Ben Hunt produced a spectacular chip and chase try over the top of stand-in fullback Lachie Miller, bringing the Kogarah crowd to their feet.
Nine minutes before half time Knights winger Greg Marzhew finished off a slick left side raid to cross for his 20th try of the season and extend the visitors’ lead to 10 at the break.
Newcastle struck the first blow of the second half when mid-season recruit Fa’amanu Brown crashed over for his first try as a night thanks to some earlier lead up work from centre Bradman Best.
The Dragons reduced the deficit in the 66th minute when winger Mikaele Ravalawa scored a try in the corner before a chaotic five minutes played out with Miller and Dragons forward Blake Lawrie both sin-binned for professional fouls.
But Knights winger Dominic Young stole the final stages, going back-to-back in the last five minutes spectacular tries to seal Newcastle’s ninth-straight victory on the trot ahead of a finals clash that could include the Sharks, Roosters or Raiders.