NEWCASTLE ended an eight-year hoodoo and extended their winning streak to six games with a courageous 20-12 triumph against competition leaders South Sydney at ANZ Stadium on Friday night.
Minus Origin stars David Klemmer, who is nursing a broken wrist, and Kalyn Ponga, the Knights scored their first win against Souths since 2011.
The Rabbitohs had won the previous nine games between the two clubs, some by landslide margins.
After losing five consecutive games between rounds two and six, Newcastle have staged a stunning form reversal to post successive wins against Parramatta, the Warriors, Canterbury, St George Illawarra, premiers Sydney Roosters and now Souths.
They are now primed to claim another prized scalp when they tackle the Storm in Melbourne on Saturday week.
The win consolidated Newcastle's hold of fourth spot on the NRL ladder and lifted them two points clear of their nearest rivals, Canberra and Cronulla.
The game took a dramatic twist in the last minute before half-time when Knights prop Daniel Saifiti, reacting to an apparent head butt, threw a punch at rival Tom Burgess.
An all-in melee then ensued, after which Saifiti, Burgess, Souths skipper Sam Burgess and Knights back-rower Lachlan Fitzgibbon were all sin-binned.
Surprisingly Souths were awarded a penalty and centre Dane Gagi kicked a goal, reducing the home team's deficit to 12-6.
Newcastle capitalised on the reduced numbers when hooker Connor Watson scored from dummy-half in the 46th minute.
Mason Lino's conversion, then a penalty goal in the 55th minute, gave the visitors a 20-6 lead.
A rampaging try from Sam Burgess brought Souths within eight points, with five minutes to play, but Newcastle held firm.
The Knights opened the scoring in the fourth minute when Hymel Hunt surged onto a Kurt Mann short ball to crash over against his former club.
Souths hit back five minutes later when new signing James Roberts beat Edrick Lee to ground an Adam Doueihi grubber kick.
Newcastle increased their lead with a Lino penalty goal in the 19th minute, then Lino gift-wrapped a try for back-rower Mitch Barnett seven minutes later.
While Newcastle coped in the absence of their Origin stars, Souths clearly missed their first-choice playmakers, Adam Reynolds and Cody Walker.