THE Newcastle Knights' miserable NRL campaign continued when they were humbled 24-14 by the lowly rated Gold Coast Titans at Hunter Stadium.
After establishing a 4-0 lead courtesy of an Aku Uate try in the sixth minute, the Knights were outplayed in all facets of the game by a team most pundits tipped to run last during pre-season prognostications.
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Titans hooker Matt Srama scooted over to score in the 19th minute after fullback William Zillman ducked under a Kade Snowden tackle and darted into space, then winger David Mead crossed in the corner three minutes later to extend the visitors' lead to 10-4.
A Tyrone Roberts handling error gifted the ball back to the Titans in the 36th minute and State of Origin I man of the match Nate Myles took advantage, crashing through Matt Hilder's attempted tackle to score next to the posts. Titans skipper Scott Prince converted from close range to give his side a 16-4 half-time lead.
Newcastle had to be the first team to score in the second half to have any chance of mounting a fightback but instead it was Knights junior Greg Bird, stepping inside Jarrod Mullen, who scored to extend Gold Coast's lead to 22-4 in the 52nd minute after Prince converted from touch.
Roberts and bench forward Alex McKinnon crossed for consolation tries for the Knights in the 67th and 77th minutes but it was too little, too late.
Prince added a penalty goal from in front after the final siren to end the scoring.
It was Newcastle's third straight loss and fourth from six games at home. The only teams the Knights have beaten at Hunter Stadium this season have been the Panthers and Eels, running second-last and last respectively heading into this weekend's 12th round.
The road ahead gets no easier as Newcastle's next assignment is the Brisbane Broncos, smarting after three straight losses, at Suncorp Stadium on June 3.
Halftime Titans 16-4. Crowd 15,792. Referees Shayne Hayne, Alan Shortall