THE Newcastle Knights remain winless two games into the 2014 NRL season after a close loss to the Canberra Raiders.
The Knights lost to the Raiders 26-20 in front of a 14,674-strong home crowd at Hunter Stadium on Sunday.
Though it was an improvement on the Knights' 30-8 loss to Penrith in the opening round, it still hit close to home for the players, who were without injured teammates Jarrod Mullen and Darius Boyd.
The match was tense from the start, as players from both sides joined a brawl sparked by Newcastle's Dane Gagai and Canberra's Shaun Fensom in the second minute, but referees took no action.
The scores were locked 10-10 at half-time, but the Knights struggled to hold out against the Raiders towards the end of the match.
The Raiders claimed the upper hand in the 52nd minute with a six-point lead.
Ten minutes later, the Knights had not only caught up, but halfback Tyrone Roberts put the team ahead 20-16.
However, the advantage was short-lived as Canberra's Paul Vaughan scored a try, which sealed the deal for the Raiders.
The Newcastle Knights will face Melbourne Storm at 7pm on Monday, March 24, at AAMI Park.