THE big game experience of Melbourne Storm's Holy Trinity - Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk - proved the difference in Newcastle yesterday as the premiers came from behind to down the Knights 23-10.
The win saw the Storm jump ahead of Manly into third place with matches against Parramatta (h), the Sea Eagles (a) and the Titans (h) to come.
Newcastle on the other hand is still not guaranteed a place in the finals, needing one win out of its final three games against the Cowboys (a), Broncos (a) and Parramatta (h).
The home side looked in control for most of the first half yesterday, tries to Joseph Leilua and Akuila Uate putting the Knights up 8-0, before a try in the shadow of half-time to man-mountain Jordan McLean saw the Storm go into the break trailing 8-4.
Whatever coach Craig Bellamy said at half-time worked, as first Smith, and then Slater, scored to put the visitors ahead.
The nights were still in the contest at 16-10 down with 10 minutes to play, but as he has done so often, Cronk iced the deal with a field goal before Bryan Norrie took advantage of some sloppy work by Newcastle to blow out the scoreline just before full-time.