From whipping boys to defensive men of steel.
The Knights will need more than just one gritty, 80 minute effort to erase their defensive frailties of the past five years and justify that tag.
But Friday night's tough 14-8 win over nemesis Cronulla has at least shown their intense pre-season focus on defence under new assistant coach Kristian Woolf has not been wasted.
Going into the Sharks clash, only twice in Newcastle's previous 116 NRL games dating back to early 2014 had the Knights kept their opposition to just one try or less.
They did it against the Parramatta Eels last season in a 30-4 win in round 13 and prior to that, back in 2015 in a 20-6 defeat of the Melbourne Storm in round 24.
Now they have managed to do it again, conceding only a highly dubious penalty try late in the second half to the Sharks following a Shaun Johnson grubber.
"There was a lot of commitment there to defence from all the boys," backrower Sione Mata'utia said.
"It's been a big focus for us coming into this season and that will give everyone some confidence that all the hard work has been worth it. The secret now is backing it up every week."
Skipper Mitchell Pearce said the tone was set defensively early in the game in the middle of the park.
"Our big men were great - Klem [David Klemmer], Jimmy [James Gavet] and Glaz [Tim Glasby] led the way for us,"Pearce said.
"Jimmy in particular, early on, was really strong defensively for us. I thought he was our best player in the opening 20 minutes the way he ripped in."
The Sharks' dominance in winning eight straight games against the Knights dating back to 2015 was based on the physicality of their pack with the Knights copping some brutal lessons over that period.
But the tide has clearly turned.
"They were just physically better than us,"coach Nathan Brown conceded.
"But I would think their impression of us would be a little different than it used to be after tonight."
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The only sour note of the win was the knee injury sustained by prop Daniel Saifiti just after halftime that threatens to sideline him for several weeks.
Saifiti injured his right knee in attempting to tackle Sharks fullback Matt Moylan.
He was assisted from the field with suggestions he may have suffered a grade two medial strain which could potentially sideline him for anywhere between two to six weeks. He's had scans and will know the full extend of the damage today.
Prop Herman Ese'ese, unlucky to have been left out of the squad for the Sharks, is certain to come in for Saifiti to take on the Penrith Panthers at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday.
Ese'ese played big minutes in the Knights' NSW Cup win over Newtown prior to the Sharks game and got through unscathed, as did returning centre Tautau Moga.
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