Newcastle Knights snap Parramatta Eels' NRL winning streak
Parramatta's chances of a NRL top-four finish have suffered a major setback after a controversial 29-10 defeat to an improving Newcastle at ANZ Stadium.
The Knights were holding onto an eight-point lead on Friday night when Ken Sio passed off the ground and, one minute later, Brock Lamb crashed over to seal a third-straight win.
"The ball never touched the ground," the referee told Eels five-eighth Corey Norman.
Sio completed his brace with an acrobatic try in the 67th minute before Brock Lamb capped off an outstanding display with a field goal to snap the Eels' six- game winning streak.
Lamb's one-pointer also momentarily lifted the Knights off the bottom of the ladder for the first time since April, taking them past the Wests Tigers on points differential.
It was the Knights' biggest win since a 30-2 victory over Gold Coast in mid-2015, and their first road win since later that same year.
Lamb finished the night with a try, four tackle breaks, two line breaks and two try assists, while fullback Dane Gagai carried the ball for a game-high 207m to go with two try assists.
Eels coach Brad Arthur said his team had more problems than the bad Sio call, suggesting his team were complacent against the Knights.
"I think the tackle's complete and, if we go in there and you get penalised for a flop, but there was a lot more problems than that," Arthur said after the match.
"Maybe we thought we could come here and get a soft win. They just worked harder than us."
Knights coach Nathan Brown echoed Arthur's call.
"Us and Canberra have got the least of any 50-50 calls during the year. Whether there was a wrong or right call, what I like is that Brock scored off the back of getting the ball back," he said.
"I'd imagine from Brad Arthur's point of view, he might look at the decision as being wrong.
"But I'm sure he'll look at it. At the end of the day, we were good enough to get the ball and score again whereas if going where they want to get to, they want to be preventing those bad calls."
The Knights shot out of the blocks with two tries in the opening 10 minutes.
Sio claimed the first when he finished off a quick left-side shift in the sixth minute, before a Lamb 70m line break in the ensuing set was finished off by Mitchell Barnett.
The Eels momentarily stemmed the flow with their own long-range try through Michael Jennings who produced a 55m run in the 18th minute.
The match stayed on a knife's edge until Eels fullback Will Smith was sin-binned for tackling a player from an offside position after a Knights line break.
Knights second-rower Lachlan Fitzgibbon charged over moments later, giving the Knights a commanding 18-10 lead before silencing the 13,141 crowd by closing out the match.
Newcastle Knights 29 (Ken Sio 2, Mitchell Barnett, Lachlan Fitzgibbon, Brock Lamb tries; Trent Hodkinson 4 goals, Lamb field goal) Parramatta Eels 10 (Michael Jennings, Will Smith tries; Mitchell Moses goal) at ANZ Stadium. Referee: Henry Perenara, Chris Butler. Crowd: 13,141