KNIGHTS coach Wayne Bennett conceded his side's finals hopes were dead after they were smashed 42-20 by Manly at Brookvale Oval yesterday.
The Sea Eagles led 38-4 at half-time before Newcastle fought back to add some respectability to the scoreline.
But the reality for the Knights is that they have only a remote hope of making the play-offs.
They are two points behind eighth-placed Wests Tigers but are 11th due to a poor points difference.
They meet in-form North Queensland in Townsville this weekend then host third-placed South Sydney on the last weekend of the regular season.
Bennett told the post-match press conference that the Knights would not make the finals.
FULL REPORTS IN TOMORROW'S NEWCASTLE HERALD