THE Newcastle Knights were just one win away from the 2013 grand final after eliminating defending NRL premiers Melbourne Storm with a heart-stopping 18-16 victory in the second semi-final at AAMI Park on Saturday night.
Take a peek back at some memories from that night, the Knights' first victory against Melbourne in the southern capital.
Sadly the dream ended the next weekend in a thrashing from eventual premiers Sydney Roosters, with legendary hooker Danny Buderus knocked out during the fracas.
That match was also the most recent time the Knights, then under Wayne Bennett's stewardship, featured in finals football.
THE Newcastle Knights are one win away from the grand final after eliminating defending NRL premiers Melbourne Storm with a heart-stopping 18-16 victory in the second semi-final at AAMI Park on Saturday night.
Ending a seven-game losing streak to the Storm, the Knights won at AAMI Park for the first time in six attempts and will now play minor premiers Sydney Roosters at Allianz Stadium next Saturday night for the right to play either South Sydney or Manly in the title decider at ANZ Stadium on October 6.
The Knights have now knocked out the 2012 premiers and runners-up in the space of six days after dispatching Canterbury 22-6 in an elimination final at ANZ Stadium last Sunday.
Leading 18-4 early in the second half, Newcastle had to defend desperately in the final minutes to secure their first win in the Victorian capital since 2004, and first from six games against top-four opponents this season.
Converted tries by Aku Uate in the 22nd minute and Chris Houston in the 38th gave the Knights a 12-4 lead after a frantic first half that rattled the Storm.
The Knights spread the ball to both edges and found space down the wings, and it took a desperate tackle by Justin O'Neill to deny Kevin Naiqama, a game-day replacement for James McManus, a try in the fourth minute.
Uate absorbed Billy Slater's attempted shoulder charge to score in the corner in the 22nd minute and Tyrone Roberts converted to give the Knights a 6-0 lead.
Melbourne hit back with a Maurice Blair try five minutes later, cutting the deficit to 6-4, after Alex McKinnon was penalised for a high tackle on Slater.
Storm bench forward Jordan McLean was diagnosed at half-time with a broken jaw, which was the result of an accidental head clash with McKinnon in the 33rd minute.
Waqa spilled a Roberts bomb in the 37th minute and the Knights punished the mistake with quick hands through Jarrod Mullen and Beau Scott to create a try for Houston, which made up for his spilled ball from the kick-off after Uate's try.
The Knights extended their lead to 18-4 in the 42nd minute when Matt Hilder, playing his 100th game for Newcastle and 200th in the NRL, picked up the crumbs from Slater's spilled bomb to score next to the posts.
Video referees Steve Clark and Luke Patten were called on to adjudicate after Knights bench forward Neville Costigan made contact with Slater after he dropped the ball, but they ruled there was not enough evidence to overturn the on-field ruling of a try.
Roberts converted from close range to set the Storm further back on their heels, but Melbourne hit back with a freakish try to Waqa in the 48th minute.
Cooper Cronk regained his own chip kick, and Kenny Bromwich punched Cronk's pass on for Waqa to score in the corner. Smith converted from the sideline to reduce Newcastle's lead to 18-10.
Slater went down clutching at his right knee in the 52nd minute but regained his feet and played on.
The Knights went close to scoring again in the 61st minute but Joey Leilua knocked on at least once, and possibly twice, competing for Roberts's cross-field bomb to negate Naiqama's try in the corner.
Dominating possession and field position in the final quarter, Melbourne edged within 18-16 when prop Jesse Bromwich scored under the posts and Smith converted in the 66th minute.
Roberts clutched at his right knee in the 77th minute after he stepped out of dummy-half but recovered and finished the game.
Starved of possession in the last 15 minutes, the Knights had to dig deep to deny the defending premiers but they did just that to extend their winning streak to four games, something they had not done since 2006.
McManus was ruled out as he has been battling a stress fracture in his lower-left leg since playing for NSW in the State of Origin decider in Brisbane on July 17.
The injury has been getting steadily worse in recent weeks and he wore a protective CAM Boot on his left foot while watching the game.
McManus suffered concussion when hit in a high tackle by Michael Ennis in the opening minute of Newcastle's 22-6 victory over Canterbury in the elimination final at ANZ Stadium last Sunday but passed a midweek CogSport test.
The game was 33-year-old Knights prop Willie Mason's 250th in the NRL, having kicked off his career with the Bulldogs in 2000.
KNIGHTS 18 (A Uate, C Houston, M Hilder tries; T Roberts 3 goals) STORM 16 (M Blair, S Waqa, J Bromwich tries; C Smith 2 goals) at AAMI Park.
Half-time Knights 12-4
Referees Ben Cummins, Gerard Sutton