Newcastle confirmed their status as NRLW heavyweights, beating Gold Coast 24-18 in the grand final to win back-to-back premierships.
Coming off a career-best season, new Dally M medalist Tamika Upton was the hero for the Knights at Accor Stadium on Sunday.
In the second of two comebacks she orchestrated in the searing Sydney heat, Upton scored two tries to turn a six-point deficit into a winning six-point lead in the final 10 minutes.
The Knights, wooden spoons in 2021, are now on the cusp of an NRLW dynasty, losing just two of 18 games in their two premiership seasons.
Their latest title came despite a significant change in the squad during the off-season and confirms the first consecutive titles, men’s or women’s, in the history of the Newcastle club.
Newcastle beat Gold Coast 24-18 in the NRLW grand final on Sunday afternoon.
Tamika Upton (pictured) was the hero for the Knights at Accor Stadium
Thanks to Lauren Brown’s passing play, Jaime Chapman scored the Titans’ second hat-trick in NRLW history to help Gold Coast take an 18-12 lead into the second half.
Gold Coast dominated the territorial battle all day, with starting props Shannon Mato and Jessika Elliston leading the charge, and looked resolute enough on the goal line to force their way to victory.
But that was before Upton came back into high gear, just as she did to help the Knights score three tries in seven minutes before halftime.
With 10 minutes remaining, Upton slipped past rival fullback Evania Pelite for a try that leveled the scores and made the Titans nervous.
Just when the Knights looked ready to line up for a game-winning field goal, Upton hit the right sideline on the final tackle.
She broke through the defensive line and past Chapman to bring the ball down to the ground for the winning try.
The thrilling match also saw two painful hair-pulling incidents that resulted in penalties.
This essay closes the book on the fairy tale of the Gold Coast final.
There were two nasty hair-pulling incidents during the heated confrontation
Gold Coast couldn’t handle fairytale finish after finishing last in 2022
After finishing last season bottom of the ladder, they qualified for the grand final with a surprise defeat to the Sydney Roosters and were lucky to win the first premiership trophy in Gold Coast sporting history .